Wednesday, April 16, 2008

the end?

The stories, memories and struggles shared on this site are real. These are the tales of hundreds who have suffered through the trap of Living Faith Fellowship in Pullman, Washington.

We will never escape the memories and some wounds will never heal. But many have found life anew, outside the confining walls of judgment, free from the lies of Living Faith.

The comment boards will remain open for discussion, because flashes of pain and anger haunt, and sometimes you simply need the ear of someone who understands.

We pray this site will serve as a beacon to future seekers.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

from the comments

And so we go, sometimes forward, sometimes to the places we started, time, unforgiving train, never stopping to wait for any. Each with a thought of what we would if we could, or maybe what we wouldn’t. Familiarity we share, never waiting permission, clumsily pulls us together and tears us apart. Regrets we know better than to have, an itch, there to remind us when our minds finally find rest.

We were only children. How could we have known? Who should we tell that we had to watch our parents cry? It was for God! Wasn’t it? We were going to be righteous. We were a step above, set apart. We were on fire, righteous indignation. We did what we had to, anything, to survive. Some fought, some ran, and some learned to pretend.

The good news, I stopped caring. The bad news, about anything. That’s why I’m not mad at you, I lost that ability when I was 12. I’m indifferent, I think. Except for one thing. I would drag myself, crawling, across all the hot asphalt in the world, to save your children from you.

I’d introduce them to the God you lost somewhere in all your religion.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Catching Up

Received via email sometime ago. Sorry for the delayed post.

It’s been thirteen years since the Lord Jesus rescued me and brought me out of darkness (LFF) and into His marvelous light. I only spent four years there, but they were the formative years of my relationship with Jesus, and it has taken years to unravel the harm that was done to my soul by abusive leaders. He has been so gracious to me throughout this entire experience and tonight after reading the blog I am filled with faith that each of you will find your road to healing in Him and be made whole again, or for the first time. Your pain is real. I validate you, not that you need me to validate you, or anyone really, but sometimes that helps. I was not so fortunate. I did not have a blog to turn to. In fact, the first church my hubby and I attended didn’t even know what to do with me, so we began going to every church in our town and surrounding towns looking for someone who understood and it was a few years before I met someone who had been through a Shepherding movement and was delivered from it. He and his sweet wife heard my whole story-it took hours and hours. They cried with me, held my hand, we got on our knees together and wept and cried out for Jesus to heal my broken heart. This validation healed me. I had thought I was losing my mind and had disqualified myself like Esau from his birthright (because I married a divorced man). I left that room a healed woman. I got in my car and felt happy for the first time in two years. These sweet people were so wise. They told me to be patient with myself, to forgive myself frequently, to talk to Jesus a lot, that He was not some mean dictator in Heaven waiting to hammer me into dust and that it might take years before all that ugly pharisaical leaven would be worked out of my life. They were right. Even as I read this blog I realized that some of the issues I have with my darling daughters is because of the harshness in discipline I experienced myself at LFF.

I also learned through the years that Our Father in Heaven is nothing like these people who ruled over us with an iron fist and kept us in fear. He is kind, and it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance, not someone digging around glaring at you and confronting you with your “whatever” sin. NO, He is not like them at all. He saved me from this mess and I still thank Him to this day for His amazing love towards me. I also thank Him because the man I married is also amazing. He has been so patient, gracious, loving, and gentle with me over the years. He has also endured much as a result of what I allowed LFF to do to me. When I got done reading this blog I just ran over to him and thanked him for being my hero. He told me that I was worth it all! At LFF I was not worth much at all, always screwing up, always being confronted with my attitudes and sin. Now, I must admit, there were times this was merited, but again, I have learned that the Holy Spirit, given the chance, will convict you of all sin and give you the opportunity to repent and change. They never gave Him a chance. The other thing is He is gentle and lowly and they were harsh and vindictive. In order to heal well we must discover first who God really is—not looking at people, but at Him. How we choose to view Him will determine everything.

I thought it would be valuable to write to encourage the wounded to persevere—healing is possible. God has been gracious to me and as I chose to be honest and lay it all out like it really was, in time, His love has covered over a lot of inadequacies. He has also restored so much. At the ten year mark, after I left, I received a phone call from one of my precious friends from those days, she asked me to forgive her and I was at that time ready to do so, then another wrote asking for forgiveness, then Kari and I saw each other and she asked me privately, away from our mutual friend, to forgive her, thankfully, I already had. This was another piece of the healing-to be able to forgive before being asked, but that takes time. Then, Julie Kobelin called and asked me to forgive her (she had been the most abusive towards me) and I already had forgiven her too. She wanted me to specifically tell her all that she had done to hurt me so she could specifically ask forgiveness, but the cool thing was, I couldn’t really think of anything, all the sting was gone. Love had covered over the multitude of inadequacies. Now, I do not have any real relationships with anyone from LFF except one and she is a treasure indeed, but I have no desire to pursue any of those relationships. It is time to move forward and those that really loved me came forth—one. That is a sobering reality after you spent so much time with people only to discover what you thought was real wasn’t all that real after all. I really have no issues with anyone from LFF anymore. However, I have a huge heart for those on this blog and those who are even now being harassed. I have been praying for years for freedom to come to this place. I will not give up in prayer.

Reading about the PCS kids breaks my heart to pieces. I will commit myself to pray more for you. You suffered the most. I was a nursery worker and loved you so very much and my heart ached that you were never with your parents…oh sweet souls may He who is able bind up every single one of your wounds and plant you by healing waters. There is a chapter in Ezekiel 34, I think, anyway, about the bad shepherds and the sheep roaming the hills, you are those precious hurting, lost, and wounded sheep wandering the hills, but not forever—hang in there.

I guess we all want to tell our story. It amazes me that when I attended LFF no one dared ever speak any of these things, yet so many of us were feeling them…big sigh…we were just being critical, oh how we needed to know that testing the spirits is of God and that we also were the Lord’s anointed… dare they touch us…His sweet children…may the Lord have mercy.

I was a brand new convert zealous for Jesus and eager to find a church like the one in Acts. I thought I found that at LFF. My life was transformed at Heartbeat Retreat. It was the real deal. I have not been the same since. Water baptism was powerful for me and I spent my whole Freshman year full of the Holy Spirit and just so in love with Jesus and following hard after Him in any way I could. I did not start out wanting to please leadership only Jesus. This was a great year for me. I found freedom from my previous life of sin and rest for my soul. I will always remember that year with great fondness. Then, I became a JCD my sophomore year and that all changed. The truth began to stare me in the face, but who would dare say anything, not me, I didn’t want to be rebellious, or critical, even though I always was found that way. I was a messy person, messy with a lot of worldly baggage, a lot to undue to become more like Jesus, but now I see, I was a mere infant in Christ…holy moly…it’s a miracle any of us survived this kind of scrutiny.

The first time I realized that something was seriously wrong was when the Koeblins were leaving for Russia and I went home and cried tears of rejoicing because Julie wouldn’t be around anymore to torment me with her ceaseless demands and cruel words. I couldn’t tell anyone why I was crying, it was so lonely. Then, that summer after visiting my mom, after begging for permission to be released from my unbelievable ministry responsibilities, I was on my way to Pullman, pulled off at Ellensburg for gas and when I got back on the highway and without realizing what I was doing I found myself heading back towards my mom’s house, oh, how I should have kept on going….it went on like this in many ways my whole senior year. The Lord was good to me and caused me to have a back problem right after my senior year that forced me to rest and made people say way judgmental things to me about my condition. God totally healed me, but then I was in massive pain due to the healing….

During this time it became even more obvious to me that He wanted me out of LFF, but I was struggling because my pride was so invested into this place. He and I argued a lot about this, but He kept bringing situations so I couldn’t avoid the truth anymore. When I left to student teach I actually felt strings being cut from my back (like rubber bands) and the strings were retracting back to LFF. I felt free and felt guilty for feeling that way. I had no idea that my high school sweetheart was waiting for me to get home so he could steal me away from this craziness—he was my knight in shinning armor, though at the time, I thought he was sent by satan. Finally, the Lord convinced me that it was truly His will for me to marry this great guy, so of course the cost on my side was losing all my “friends” at LFF, but many had already forgotten me, out of sight, out of mind, but I went back one last time just to be sure it was God that I marry this guy—of course the leadership said no, he was divorced and used goods (even though this happened when he wasn’t saved…the unpardonable sin…) and as I was there I was sooooo confused, but it was good to see them all. I really missed everyone. On my way back to my mom’s house my car broke down on the pass and God told me that my boyfriend needed to be the one to come get me although I called many and many were willing…I had stayed totally pure in my relationship with him, but the thought entered into my head that if I slept with him I would be so humiliated that I would never go back to LFF and it would be easier that way-YIKES, so I lured that poor guy and made him compromise himself too---just so I wouldn’t feel so condemned about leaving LFF. That is my largest regret—that I didn’t have the guts to just leave LFF, but thankfully, God has forgiven us this also, but I saw clearly how whacked this whole thing was and just said good-bye.

Now, I have to say that I really do believe that God takes everything and works it for good and I have often thanked God for all the many things HE did in my life while I was there. I did learn how to serve others in love, I did learn how to do everything as to the Lord, I do have a solid foundation that I have continued to build on, I did learn how to hear His voice and how to go against the flow in order to follow Him. I am grateful that there was good to be taken from such a harmful situation. I still have a whole lot of love for people who have left and the people there. I actually really love the Vances and pray for them often. I didn’t know the Barden’s all that well, but I do pray that they would find freedom and seek to restore what they broke down. I believe all things are possible. I really believe He is who He says He is and that His word and His Spirit are enough to satisfy and bring us to wholeness again. I pray that as believers we will stop harming each other and start assisting each other in His love and under His direction, not under man made religious systems full of the traditions of men. I pray for the Church that call themselves by His holy name to rally under His banner which is LOVE. I pray for people to stop following men and their opinions and to follow Jesus the Christ—our savior our kind Lord.

We home churched with another couple for five years and it was the BEST…we really learned how to rely and depend on Him alone. He has just recently brought us out of the wilderness and called us to break down religious systems that are killing God’s precious children. I feel awake, alert, and sound of mind for the first time in too many years. God’s spirit is moving everywhere…He is roaming the hills and finding His lost sheep and restoring them. In fact, one of the small home groups we attend is called: Compass Ministries, our whole focus is Jesus and being His hands to comfort those who have had so much stolen from them. God keeps collecting them and bringing them to us. God is raising up an army of those wounded who He is healing and He is taking their brokenness and glorifying Himself in it. The world doesn’t want religion---it wants a Jesus who saves them from the torment of sin!!!! The church needs a Jesus who is real and binds up their wounds.

Oh I pray for the comfort of these hurting people Jesus, be ever near their aching hearts, place your presence around them that they may know that Your love is perfect and Your ways are sound. Touch them with gentleness and take off heavy yokes and burdens and show them that Your way is easy and light. Lift off the depression, self-loathing, and sting of the harm done against them. Touch each one here with Your real concern and care for their individual situation. Jesus, bring back to them seven times what was stolen from them.

I will keep praying.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." -- Unknown

Were the atrocities committed at LFF simply blindly done because of twisted theological beliefs? Thoughts?

Friday, June 08, 2007


In the 'Question of Forgiveness' blog Nikkoly said

"I was just baptized again this past Sunday as a
consecration to the Lord, to free me form religious
bondage, spiritual abuse, and half truths that kept me
in despair for WAY too long. I came out of those
waters with even more love and freedom. I highly
recommend it for any who were baptized at LFF."

For my husband and I, even though we don't agree with
a lot of what goes on at LFF, both of us feel that our
baptism experience was sincere and between us and the
Lord. We actually left a church recently because they
told us that unless we provided papers to show we were
baptized that we would have to get re-baptized to
become members. When we told them our reasonings for
not wanting to contact LFF, they insisted that we get
re-baptized no matter what. That didn't sit well with
us because to us baptism is between you and God, not
you and a church and it's certainly not to obtain a
piece of paper.

We now have philosophical disagreements with the
speaking in tongues that was to happen "by faith" as
you rose from the waters (if you hadn't previously
been baptized by the holy spirit) but despite all that
I feel that God used my baptism, even if those
preforming it weren't totally correct, my God is big
enough to use that experience for his Glory. I don't
personally think I need to get re-baptized. Just as I
no longer believe that a saved person can be possessed
by demons and need deliverance; another LFF teaching

I may have been taught some crazy wacked out doctrine
at LFF, but I think over the years God heals wounds
and rights wrongs.

What are everyone's thoughts on the subject?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Concerned Family...

Received via email. Is this familiar to anyone?


I'm not sure if you're who I should direct this letter too, but if not, if you could direct it to someone else? I would really appreciate it.

My sister is currently on multiple anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications, plus some to help her sleep. Despite the medication, she has anxiety that won't resolve and frequent migranes. We think a lot of her stress is due to the church she has been attending. Almost 6 years ago my sister moved to Pullman to attend college. She'd always been pretty quiet and never had a large group of friends, so we were happy when she said she was attending a church down there and had made many friends through it. However, the more she talked about it, the more uncomfortable my family was with the church. Her activities in the church began to take over her life. Whenever we tried to talk to her about it, she just brushed it off and said she'd finally found a church where she really wanted to participate. To us, however, it seemed like the church was drawing her in and not allowing her the time to make friends or participate in activities outside of it. At one time, she was even set on going to an African country deep in war on a service mission. She said the church told her she'd been called to go. She hadn't felt called, they told her she was. Luckily, it ended up not working out for her to go. The past six years have been agonizing as we recognized there was something not right about this situation, but were powerless to change things. Now, thankfully, she has decided the city does not allow her to finish the training needed in her career and she will be moving back home in a few weeks. We are ecstatic that she's leaving the church and cannot wait for her to come home. I don't know how deeply this church has affected her over the past years, and I want to be able to help her get over some of the things that have been impressed into her.

After this long ramble, my question is, do you have any advice on helping someone who has just left the church? I think she's still a big fan of them. I like to think that she will just magically be okay, but I worry that may not be true. Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Question of Forgivenes

Received via email:

I have seen many times on the blog, and often wondered myself why the current, and past Sr. Pastors would not admit any fault or ask forgiveness for the wrongs they've done. It's so obvious to all of us that they had major flaws in their practices, but that they turned such a blind eye to it. They put the wrongs back on our shoulders as we went and talked with them about specific issues.

I have been gone from lff for many years now and have heard stories of various pastors asking forgiveness. I'm pretty sure that all of the pastors (except Bardens and Vances) have been very open about admitting wrong and asking forgiveness. I'm wondering if anyone has been contacted by the Bardens or the Vances or talked to them and had them admit wrong or ask forgiveness. I'm not talking about forgiveness like at the members meeting where everyone went to the microphone and put it all out on the table and they said "Please forgive us" a hundred times and mostly on behalf of the Sr. Pastors who weren't present at the meeting. That was helpful in the sense that it was one of the first times were all able to be truly honest at a members meeting, but I'm talking about a more real conversation where they say that they were wrong and that they are sorry for the hurt and damage they caused? Just curious. To me, that says a lot towards real change. So far I haven't heard of it happening other than outward changes to church meetings and home group structure types of changes.

I know that Beckers and Kobelins have asked forgiveness; the wife-halves of those couples have asked forgiveness of folks. Interesting, I hadn't thought of this before, but I think all of the women in the church had a whole lot more to forgive than the men. I have a lot of respect for the fact that they can admit where they screwed up and apologize. This could be a tough one to comment on without exposing who you are but I'd love to know if there is any recognition that they did wrong and they are making things right. It won't make me run back to lff but it will help me to know God is working on their hearts--maybe. I still pray for that. They've had their chance with me, and I would never put myself in the position to be hurt by them again. That would be foolish. But for the future since they are still ministering, I hope and pray that they will do better with those that walk through their doors.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to hear that something is happening in this area. If not, well, I guess I will continue to pray. God is big enough to do it, if He so chooses.

Take care,

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The nail that sticks out gets hammered

Received via email.

When I was at LFF it seemed to me that anybody who had a differing idea on any subject was silenced. You were to "disagree agreeably" which meant shut your mouth and suffer the consequences of your actions. You were treated with suspicion of being a dissenter, your life was meticulously picked apart and minor things were turned into major "sin issues." If you "Rebelled" or refused to conform, you were ostracized, excluded, even excommunicated just as many others have stated on this blog. The divisive and manipulative leadership of the Living Faith Fellowship uses this fear to suppress and control the people.

Since my exit from LFF I wonder if there are any left who battle "Group Think".
Are those who go against the flow still treated the same way? In hindsight, I should have been more of a thorn in their side, doggedly questioning publicly their practices and ideas. Lowering my shoulder, persevering in the face of their devices. The sacrifices of a few meant to ease and prevent the suffering of many and better the health of the church.

Those who read and agree with me, please speak up. The ongoing refusal to publicly admit wrong and accept any form of criticism is one of the main weaknesses of LFF's current leadership. If you are currently attending the church and striving to make a difference, I admire your efforts, but don't let them get the best of you. You will find support here on this blog as well as from others within the church who do not accept the Group Think--if there are any left. I am sure the admin of this blog would post your account, igniting a dialog and penning a record.

Finally to the administrator(s) of this blog, You are a gentle man\lady and a scholar, I owe my thanks to you, this blog has helped me beyond description and I'm confident it has helped many others.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Irony of Living Faith

Now days, when I think of my time spent at LFF I chuckle to my self and laugh as if it was a bad dream. I usually scold myself for being so foolish, and then I think about the many humorous and ironic things that I witnessed that could really only happen at LFF.

Did you ever think that they should be called response to opinion forms?

Have you ever been told that you lack self control by a fat person?

Did you ever take a math class from CMT?

Did you ever pretend to laugh real hard so that the people who were scowling at you would know you were touched by God?

Does it ever seem odd that the people with the most screwed up family taught mirror?

Living Faith is the only church I know that hasn't had a split: Instead of going to another church, all it's members just stopped going to church.

The most judgmental people I've ever met preach that we should extend them grace.

A pastor told me that if I wanted to continue serving in the areas that I loved I would need to come to morning prayer. Then she told me she stayed up all night and came to prayer at 6 AM. But at 7 when the meeting was over I was one hour late for work and she went to bed.

Karl Barden would use many citations in "Leadership Class" from his favorite book "How to Win Friends and Influence People." He figured out the influencing part, but where are his friends?

There are plenty more ironic things and I hope you can think of a few but I am a few minutes late for morning prayer.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Sunday

Every year that I attended Living Faith, I dreaded one thing: door to door advertizing for the Easter play. Now it’s not that I’m a shy person, it’s just that I’ve never been fond of people knocking on my door unless they were invited. I don’t care if they are selling encyclopedias, campaigning for office, or just trying to get me into heaven. I appreciate the effort but really, don’t need encyclopedias, I have an internet connection, I will be voting your stance on the issues at hand, and I am not interested in scientology, the Jehovah’s whiteness, or any other solicitation of any kind. And I know that this feeling runs though out. The moment the do-not-call list came out; it was set out in church, and passed in home groups and other meetings.

So regardless of how others felt, we went out into the streets and knocked on people’s doors. Without hesitation we explained that we had the best show in town, like some crooked Broadway producers, and then finished up with an always strong “we’ll have donuts.” And like that the door was shut and we would move happily to the next house as invite after invite was thrown right into the trash.

For this act of self indulgence we spared no expense, printing thousands of half page color leaflets, and used them to proclaim to the city:

“We don’t care to know you during the year! Even though you’re my neighbor, I’ve been to busy to make you cookies because I’ve been serving at church. I really don’t care to know you, unless you come to my church, so if you would like to know me, this card says where I can be found.”

And year after year we engaged in this act of self promotion, wasting thousands of dollars and man hours trying to boost the attendance number for one day so we could feel better about our efforts that we put into our amateur production of a classic story. And after it was all over we would spend a week or two, congratulating ourselves on a job well done. Referring to the one uneducated person who had “never seen a betters show in there life” and who had obviously never seen another show before now. Telling ourselves that we were almost as good as broad way, whilst the audience sat in the dark for 2:49 as a props crew of 23 or so bumbled along in the dark.

I hear they no longer have to go door to door, but I went to the play today and it’s the same old. Not an improvement since I left. The leper gets healed, then Jesus dies, the leper is sad, then Jesus rises, then the choir sings everyone out on stage, you know, the usual.

After I went, I was just thinking how happy I was that I didn’t have to be involved and flunk my mid-terms so people would like me.

It’s a good feeling to be free.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Administrative Note

We have added a widget to the sidebar that will allow you to subscribe to the blog via email. We encourage you to also visit the blog and participate in the comments. There have been lively debates and insightful advice by many users, so please continue to contribute.

God Bless and Happy Easter!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Success of the blog

In addition to helping us all heal, the blog has been successful in other ways. While dealing with the establishment of Living Faith Fellowship and its puppeteers is important, spreading awareness is equally important and was one of the original goals of the blog.

Some evidence of success:

  • When you search "Living Faith Fellowship" in google, the blog is the 4th result! Here is a little more information on how Google page ranking works
  • When you search "Karl Barden" in google, the blog is the number one result!
  • When you search "Kari Vance" in google, the blog is the 7th result.
Blog readership:
  • At the time of this post, the blog has received 104,062 visits.
  • As many as 800 unique viewers a day.
We have received dozens of emails from concerned friends, parents and families of current members asking for more information regarding this church. Many parents have voiced concern over their children's level of involvement, even to the point of some students not finishing college. Others have lost touch with loved ones because their lifestyle did not align with the church's moral views.

Whatever the case, we hope that this blog continues to serve its purpose and help people make an informed decision about participation & attendance at Living Faith Fellowship. At the very least it may encourage people who currently attend the church to second guess what they hear sometimes and ask questions about why things are the way they are.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


The Question: "How many people are still Christians after LFF?"

Excerpts from the comments:

-I feel closer to God to have a real biblical knowledge of him, rather than man's messed up views.

-We SHOULD question, we SHOULD look for sincerity and for spiritual leaders who aren't all about prospering financially...etc. etc. etc. I'm finally happy in church again and my kids will grow up knowing the LOVE and GRACE of Jesus Christ. Lucky them...

-We're just now (almost 10 years after leaving) getting a vision of what GRACE really means and learning to trust again. Sad to think we lost almost 20 years of our lives - almost 10 years there + almost 10 years post-LFF - to their skewed teachings. Thank God for the Christians He's brought into our lives since then who have helped us.

-I do not believe in hell or sin anymore so I am not a Christian. I believe we humans make our own hell here on Earth. And so many things are done poorly in the name of God by we mere mortals. I am more about the Goddess and peace and love and karma and good deeds and yoga and NOT judgment and negative un-acceptance which is what I got from LFF.

-not sure...not sure at all

-I have become an Agnostic. I don't know if Christianity is true, it has no greater claim to truth in my mind than many other ideas. I am more drawn to the idea of no god(s) and nothing after death.

-So really if Jesus is as judgmental as I was when I was in LFF I don't want it.

-There is so much corruption in the Christian community, that I've identified myself as a believer in God, but not a prescriber to religion

-LFF was a very sad place for me. Even my family memories with my husband and children are not fond memories for me because it is all tainted with so much depression and anxiety.

-If Christianity is based on what is taught from most of the pulpits in Evangelical or Charismatic (very little difference really), then I would have to say, No, I am not a Christian.

-It wasn't Jesus who constantly was disappointed in us and judged us daily, it was the leadership of LFF. Jesus is full of grace and would never treat us as they did. So many of you are blaming other christians for your loss of Christianity. How sad that you give hypocrites in the kingdom of God more power over your lives than God.

-God doesn't expect us to be perfect or he wouldn't have given us the gift of salvation. It was only LFF that expected perfection. I just can see that they really deeply hurt you but you shouldn't have to give up your salvation because of them.

-LFF created such a distorted picture of who God is and what his character is...the Bible clearly says that it's "God's Kindness" that leads to repentance. God is not a judging God yet...some day he will be but not yet! He does not have some hidden measuring stick that he uses to see who measures up and who doesn't nor does he have a hidden agenda.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

a change

Dear DPR,

We thank you for all the effort you have put into this site. You have posed insightful questions and moderated with grace. While we languished, in recovery, depression, and sometimes despair, you led on with dignity. Not all of us are healing and some never will. But some of us have conquered our demons, reached beyond the pain, and now seek to actively aid in the healing we once sought.

We are a few of the originators of this blog and want to bring new life to the healing. The anonymity of this blog has forced us to assume administration of this blog without consultation. Thank you to past administrators (DPR included) and future contributors for your continued support of this important effort. If you have any questions please email


If you have healed from the spiritual mutilation, move on. But if you still find yourself fighting, struggling, and hurting, this is the place for you. Grieving is never easy, but it is a start on the road to recovery. Please continue to send your stories. Together we will mend and warn others, telling them The Truth About Living Faith.

Thank You,

Innocence Destroyed

Friday, March 16, 2007

Got Christ?

How many people are still Christians after LFF?

moderator's note: Let's get the discussion going. DPR!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

a query

I had a mom contact me concerning LFF because she stumbled upon this website. She said that her daughter is currently attending LFF and she hadsome concerns and she asked her daughter not to get baptized a few weeks ago. I talked with her daughter and her daughter was still not sure if whatI shared with her was totally acurate. I don't know if her daughter got out of LFF but she did share one thing with me....The people there have been telling her that God is going to harness her personality and I told her that they told me the same things and she felt a little pressured to do the Carpenters program and mirror programs. I just told her they are very manipulative and she should watch out for herself. I also tried to call her mom but the number her mom gave me was incorrect.

This did pose some concern for me as to if this was a bogus thing that people at LFF were trying to mess with me or others because of anger and was possibly looking to sue someone. I didn't give any names in my conversation with the girl but if it is bogus watch out for yourselves. If in fact it is a true concern of a mother...I congratulate you for caring enough about your daughter to try and save her from this church. Bare in mind that most churches are not like this one so don't lump them all together but sooner or later if your daughter is still involved they will convince her that you don't understand what God is doing in her life and that she should cut her communication with you to minimal intervals. They did this with me and I ended up totally rejecting both my parents all in the name of growing in God in a way my parents would never understand. I have apologized numerous times to my parents for this and it has been a hard long road mending our relationship due to this matter.

They will do the same with her. Pretty soon you'll start wondering if she is still on the planet or not...It has been a long hard road for me coming out of LFF but I have managed to hang on to my salvation through it all and many times just barely by tattered threads...I was suicidal for a while because I felt that God couldn't accept someone like me because I could never be spiritual enough and could never attain the servants heart that I was ment to have...this alldue to the things said to me and "SPOKEN INTO MY LIFE" while in attendance at LFF.I know now that God accepts me just how that I am and I will always have things to work on in my life but God is not LFF and not all christians are LFF and not all churches are LFF and my parents are not LFF and people around me are not LFF. GOD LOVES ME FOR ME!!!! And that's good enough!

Editor's note: This is the first letter to post that we have gotten since December. We just want to make sure you know that the blog depends on you putting in content if you want the blog to continue.
thank you, DPR!!!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Missing Link

Somone brought it to my attention that the Cult Awareness List is a pretty questionable list. After some review, I decided to remove the link to it. If someone has other information, please post it here on the blog. I think that "Twisted Scriptures" describes LFF and other churches like LFF well enough.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Let it go

DPR,I got this by way of e-mail today and it is exactly what I needed to hear - probably on a daily basis. I am constantly haunted by things LFF leadership said or did to me and though I feel I have moved on and forgiven as best I can I am aware daily of the impact their words and deeds continue to have on me. I read the blog from time to time and see so many other ex-LFFers still in so much pain. I've continued to hold on to dead friendships from that place, wrong images and deep hurts. This message by T.D. Jakes is very releasing to me and I hope it can help others too.
**By Bishop T. D. Jakes, Dallas, Texas
There are people who can walk away from you.
And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you, let them walk. I don't want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone.
When people can walk away from you, let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.
The Bible said that, "They came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us." [1 John 2:19]
People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can't make them stay.
Let them go.
And it doesn't mean that they are a bad person. It just means that their part in the story is over. And you've got to know when people's part in your story is over so that you don't keep trying to raise the dead. You've got to know when it's dead.
You've got to know when it's over. Let me tell you something. I've got the gift of good-bye. It's the tenth spiritual gift. I believe in good-bye. It's not that I'm hateful, it's that I'm faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have, He'll give it to me. And if it takes too much sweat, I don't need it. Stop begging people to stay.
Let them go!!
If you are holding onto something that doesn't belong to you and was never intended for your life, then you need to......
If you are holding on to past hurts and pains......
If someone can't treat you right, love you back, and see your worth......
If someone has angered you......
If you are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge......
If you are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction......
If you are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or talents......
If you have a bad attitude......
If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better......
If you're stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level in Him......
If you are struggling with the healing of a broken relationship......
If you keep trying to help someone who won't even try to help themselves......
If you're feeling depressed and stressed......
If there is a particular situation that you are so used to handling yourself and God is saying "take your hands off of it," then you need to......
Let the past be the past. Forget the former things. GOD is doing a new thing for 2007!!!
Get right or get left... Think about it, and then...
"The Battle is the Lord's!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

new look

Hi all, just experimenting with a Beta Version of Blogger. There are some things we would like to see on the blog (like truncated posts, and a list of recent comments). So we will see what we can do to make this work better.
FYI, since no one has submitted new posts (hint hint) people are going back and commenting on older threads, so don't forget to look back. There have been some great comments, that would be a shame to be missed.
Thanks, DPR!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A call for unity

ALLL-right. I am going to write this blog... know that I write out of love. Wholly out of love. Keep in mind that this earth is temporal, and I just long for Heaven. Heaven on earth is not achievable, but we are called to work for it anyhow.

Also, I'm sorry, but I am ADD. Or maybe that's just my excuse for my extreme fondness for parenthetical self-interruptions. I do not call them digressions, for I find that in my musings they add a depth... it's like breaking down an essay into an outline. You get many levels of specification. Or application. So, I apologize. I'll restrain myself as much as possible, and when it proves impossible, I will do my best to avoid confusing you. And when that proves impossible, then add a comment to this blog telling me that I failed utterly. I would be thoroughly amused. :) It wouldn't offend me since ultimately I am writing for myself.... stop. Now THAT was the beginnings of a digression.


My heart is sortof breaking right now... though, it's hard to break what's already broken. Hm.
We people are so cruel. We human beings... why do we hurt one another?
Note: I am not from Mars or anything. I am a human being, and thus wholly include myself in all allegations against humankind.
For several years now, one of the things that has weighed heaviest on my heart is the severe disunity of the Church. Gah! I fell into the trap of generalizations... calling Christians as a whole "the Church" is like calling the United States as a whole, all its government(s) and people(s) "the State." As with all generalizations, judgements passed often do not apply on a narrower, more specified level.
Huh. I've already had three disclaimers, and I haven't even gotten close to the point. I'll just plow ahead, then.
Severe disunity. It's like a human body, the Church. Or the church... either way. God shows us so much through how he has ordered nature. Single-celled organisms... very little. They exist of themselves. They, like every other living thing, cannot claim full independence. Everything needs its environment to live. A little bacteria in a human body, though it's its own self, needs the human body to live and function just like the human body needs the oxygen in the atmosphere and the water and a number of other external things in its environment to survive. Hmmm... A proton needs an electron and neutron to serve its purpose. An atom needs other atoms in order to fulfill its potential... to "live," per se. A molecule needs other molecules... An organ needs the other organs to function and to make a functional cell... A cell needs more cells to make an organ (bigger organ, this time), and that organ needs other organs to make a body. A body needs an earth. Earth has its incredibly specific needs in order to function ("live") as Earth. {Sidenote: It wouldn't seem that way, since the Earth just sortof is suspended in nothing. I would have written that Earth is merely maintained by God... but our planet is not the end-all. It keeps getting bigger and bigger... the solar system, the galaxy, the cluster, the universe... though ultimately "through Him all things live and move and have their being." And as far as being suspended, lonely, in space—well, don't we all feel that way? And how do you think that little bacteria floating around in you feels? Well... if it felt.} Anyway, you get my drift.
So what would happen if the electron rebelled against the atom as a whole? What happens when an indwelling bacteria attacks its host? If a liver rejected its intended function? ... Eventually the smaller unit, as well as the larger, will die. Or change.
{Oh dear. I see the need for parentheses. I have to here state that I believe in civil disobedience. I believe in giving to Caesar that which he claims, and to God all that He requires. I believe there is Truth... human authority is not the ultimate authority. That said...}
I sense not only a disunity among individuals or individual ministries in the individual church, but a severe disunity in the Church—all churches who preach and claim to believe in Jesus and the Christ, Son of the Living God, who gave himself up as a sacrifice for our sins. The spotless Passover Lamb.
We're people… yes. Sinners… O yes, yes. I know. There's that saying, "If you are looking for the perfect church, just know that when you find it once you step inside it it will no longer be perfect." Where there are fallible people, there will be strife and some amount of pain on some level.
But that's not God's will. And God is the only true Unifier out there, for only he really Loves… and only he can change the heart of man. And it is God's will that we serve Him above all else, and love eachother right under that. It is His will that we undergo a transformation of the mind. It is His will that we be one with Him, and of one mind with one another. That's His will... Like I said, however: Heaven on earth... sinfilled, fallen earth...


Moscow-Pullman and the surrounding townlets (yep, baby towns) have almost innumerable churches. All this writing is about one in particular, and how it lead me to all these thoughts. This church's name is Living Faith Fellowship.
I have known many absolutely wonderful people in my time spent in Moscow who go to or have gone to LFF. When I first came to Moscow, I had been warned by a friend who was up here a year before me not to attend there. It wasn't something I really thought about. God pretty quickly directed me to and plunked me solidly down into the Crossing. Plus, as a Freshman who knew no one, Pullman seemed far away and finding rides didn't sound like fun.
It's a large church, LFF. The bigger the church, the more fallible people in one place. I was not perturbed by anything I ever heard about the church. Flying opinions don't find they're mark in me, sinking in and becoming my own. I will be the first to admit that I know very little about the church.
Today, however, I got onto a blog on blogspot… truthaboutlivingfaith.blogspot, if you want to look it up.
Basically, for those of you who don't, it's a blog begun by people who have suffered at the hands of other people and have left the church. I had, as I mentioned, heard things about the church. Reading people's writing about it has a very different effect.

The reason this brought up the old weight on my heart is that, though I know the pain they are feeling is as valid as any feeling, it appears that the blog has no purpose other than to mull over, dwell on, fester with that pain. I read many different entrants' opinions and inputs. There are varying opinions. Some were from people still in the church, gently or not-so-gently defending what they know and love. Most are from people outside of the church. Some bitter, enraged, blatantly admitting an inability to forgive, and some gentle, more reasonable, less apt to throw into their comments phrases like "horrible people," though no less full of pain.
The blog's proclaimed purpose is thus: "We are an unlikely group of former members of Living Faith Fellowship recounting our experiences, pains and victories. Some left on good terms but still deal with the pain. Others left regretfully with tears of frustration hot on their faces and still deal with the pain. This blog is meant to shield others from the heartache, help in healing the countless wounded and perhaps provide a roadmap out for people who are still abused and hurting." Yet, in reading, there is a mass disregard for the "help with healing." There are many many recountings of personal experiences, and angry retorts, and high-emotion opinions. There is no one exhorting anyone to "love one another" and "love your enemy." There is little living out of "love is patient, kind—not jealous, bragging or arrogant, not acting unbecomingly nor seeking its own, not provoked, not taking into account wrong suffered…" and especially "not rejoicing in unrighteousness, but rejoicing in truth…"
It is obvious that these people have been hurt. I do not deny that. We cannot control what is done to us, only our response.
This blog is running wild. More people are being hurt by nursing their own pain… and the rift between those who have left and those who stayed is widening. We should want to strive for reconciliation! Not disunity!

I am not perfect.
I am fully aware that any judgement I pass,
I am passing upon myself.

We need to be founded on the Word of God. Don't dish out what's been dished to you! Work to restore one another, not enable one another to take into account wrongs suffered, acting unbecomingly in doing so. Such proclamations of the sins of others, even unnamed in the comments, is a sort of rejoicing in their unrighteousness! And in allowing this to continue on the blog, wallowing together in the muck of pain and bitterness, is a rejoicing in their own unrighteousness.
The blog could have been established as a shining spiritual victory over death and pain. As it is, it may take years to undo the further damage done. The blog could have been as Jesus turning the other cheek, the Amish families' forgiveness or their daughters' murders… as returning good with evil, "setting hot coals on their heads" (for, from the hurting's perspective, the church and those in it are the "enemy" to love… again, generalizing… take with grain of salt).

I am not absolving the church for whatever may or may have happened to create this response…
I am not absolving those who left for this response just because they are in pain.
--> --> --> --> --> --> --> --> --> --> --> -->

I am not writing to pass judgement on anyone.
I am writing to pass judgement on everyone. Especially upon myself.

Reading this blog stabbed me. Not just with pain for the people hurting. Not just with pain for the church… or the Church, universal. It stabbed me with conviction. Personal and deep.
I am the pain-giver so often talked about in that blog.
I am the pain-dweller, who sits and rails.
I give in to my emotions and let sin run rampant, abounding with justifications.
I am both.
I am all.
I am a sinful human being.

But, coming back out of myself, I can shout out:
Awake! Awake, O Zion!
Clothe yourself in your strength! Christ, who is your strength!
Clothe yourself in beautiful garments! Christ, who is your righteousness!
O Jerusalem, the holy city;
o="" church="" the="" redeemed="" and="" blessed="" of="" god="">
Shake yourself from the dust, rise up,
O captives,
Loose yourself from the chains about your neck,
O captive Zion!
Awake! Arise! And Love!
Live, Love! And be FREE!
--> --> --> --> --> --> --> --> --> --> --> -->

We do not fight against flesh and blood, but against the forces of darkness...
Stand firm. Cling to the Hope that you say you have, for He is faithful to keep His promises. He will go before you.

O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Another lost friend

To the Dread Pirate Roberts,
I find it ironic that you took the Dread Pirate Roberts as your name as I left LFF at the time Princess Bride was still in the theaters. I left some close friends in Pullman one in particular was Lanni Mackenzie we both went to WSU in ’83. Lanni and I belonged to and worked for the same church in Tacoma in the early 80s. I am just wondering if you could perhaps tell me if you know her and if you could get in touch with her and give her my contact information.
I would appreciate any information.
Thank you,
Gail Ryder

Note: posted with permission, DPR!!!

Another lost friend

To the Dread Pirate Roberts,
I find it ironic that you took the Dread Pirate Roberts as your name as I left LFF at the time Princess Bride was still in the theaters. I left some close friends in Pullman one in particular was Lanni Mackenzie we both went to WSU in ’83. Lanni and I belonged to and worked for the same church in Tacoma in the early 80s. I am just wondering if you could perhaps tell me if you know her and if you could get in touch with her and give her my contact information.
I would appreciate any information.
Thank you,
Gail Ryder

Note: posted with permission, DPR!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Service to God or School

Hi. I came across your blog some time ago and have found it interesting. I haven't read everything, but I've read a lot.

I did want to add a comment to the blog. Actually, I'm hesitant about posting this, but I haven't noticed anyone else mentioning this.

Many people were very involved at LFF, sometimes putting 20 or even more hours per week into service there. Many of those people were students at WSU or U. of I. I remember pastors claiming that the amount of time people were putting in at LFF did not take away from their studies, and I remember Pastor Karl or Pastor Sherri giving an example of a girl who was failing most of her classes, but after she was helped at LFF, her gpa rose to a 3.8. They never named the girl, and I personally didn't know anyone there for whom that was the case.

I've wondered how many people did sacrifice study time and perhaps had lower grades as a result of getting too involved at LFF? Was that the case for anyone? I know of at least a couple of people who came to WSU with high hopes of, after getting their bachelor's degree, going on to medical school or to grad school to work towards a Ph.D. They got involved at LFF and before too long abandoned those dreams and settled for just the bachelor's degree.

These days getting graduate degrees is no longer just for people who are brilliant or rich. Many fairly average people pursue advanced degrees. A lot of grad programs offer assistantships to a good number of students they admit, and these assistantships usually cover tuition as well as providing a stipend (which would take care of the cost of grad school).

It seemed not very many people at LFF went on to grad school, at least compared to other WSU and U. of I. students. I know, there were many exceptions, and I could name some myself. But most LFFers I met considered their education complete after finishing their bachelor's degree and also taking classes offered at LFF as part of the bible college. I know Pastors Karl and Sherri got advanced degrees, and some of the other pastors there got master's degrees bestowed on them by LFFMTC. (I was there until right before the senior Bardens left when there were still several sets of pastors.) But were people who came there as college students not encouraged to pursue further education? What was the deal with that? I realize I don't have all of the information concerning that, but I did wonder what the truth about that was.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Emperor's New Clothes

A story about Living Faith Fellowship:

"The Two Swindlers" -played by Pride and Conceit
"The Emperor" -played by LFF Senior Pastors
"The Old Minister"-played by the Hearts of the Believers
"The Officials" -played by LFF Ministries
"The Cavaliers" -played by LFF Associate Pastors
"The Chamberlains" -played by Personal Ushers
"All The People In The Street" -played by All of Us
"The Small Child" -played by the Holy Spirit
"The Father" -played by The Father

Only one comment:
Look at what the Emperor does after the truth is told.

The Emperor's New Clothes
Source: Hans Christian Andersen

Many years ago there lived an emperor who loved beautiful new clothes so much that he spent all his money on being finely dressed. His only interest was in going to the theater or in riding about in his carriage where he could show off his new clothes. He had a different costume for every hour of the day. Indeed, where it was said of other kings that they were at court, it could only be said of him that he was in his dressing room!
One day two swindlers came to the emperor's city. They said that they were weavers, claiming that they knew how to make the finest cloth imaginable. Not only were the colors and the patterns extraordinarily beautiful, but in addition, this material had the amazing property that it was to be invisible to anyone who was incompetent or stupid.

"It would be wonderful to have clothes made from that cloth," thought the emperor. "Then I would know which of my men are unfit for their positions, and I'd also be able to tell clever people from stupid ones." So he immediately gave the two swindlers a great sum of money to weave their cloth for him.

They set up their looms and pretended to go to work, although there was nothing at all on the looms. They asked for the finest silk and the purest gold, all of which they hid away, continuing to work on the empty looms, often late into the night.

"I would really like to know how they are coming with the cloth!" thought the emperor, but he was a bit uneasy when he recalled that anyone who was unfit for his position or stupid would not be able to see the material. Of course, he himself had nothing to fear, but still he decided to send someone else to see how the work was progressing.

"I'll send my honest old minister to the weavers," thought the emperor. He's the best one to see how the material is coming. He is very sensible, and no one is more worthy of his position than he.

So the good old minister went into the hall where the two swindlers sat working at their empty looms. "Goodness!" thought the old minister, opening his eyes wide. "I cannot see a thing!" But he did not say so.

The two swindlers invited him to step closer, asking him if it wasn't a beautiful design and if the colors weren't magnificent. They pointed to the empty loom, and the poor old minister opened his eyes wider and wider. He still could see nothing, for nothing was there. "Gracious" he thought. "Is it possible that I am stupid? I have never thought so. Am I unfit for my position? No one must know this. No, it will never do for me to say that I was unable to see the material."

"You aren't saying anything!" said one of the weavers.

"Oh, it is magnificent! The very best!" said the old minister, peering through his glasses. "This pattern and these colors! Yes, I'll tell the emperor that I am very satisfied with it!"

"That makes us happy!" said the two weavers, and they called the colors and the unusual pattern by name. The old minister listened closely so that he would be able say the same things when he reported back to the emperor, and that is exactly what he did.

The swindlers now asked for more money, more silk, and more gold, all of which they hid away. Then they continued to weave away as before on the empty looms.

The emperor sent other officials as well to observe the weavers' progress. They too were startled when they saw nothing, and they too reported back to him how wonderful the material was, advising him to have it made into clothes that he could wear in a grand procession. The entire city was alive in praise of the cloth. "Magnifique! Nysseligt! Excellent!" they said, in all languages. The emperor awarded the swindlers with medals of honor, bestowing on each of them the title Lord Weaver.

The swindlers stayed up the entire night before the procession was to take place, burning more than sixteen candles. Everyone could see that they were in a great rush to finish the emperor's new clothes. They pretended to take the material from the looms. They cut in the air with large scissors. They sewed with needles but without any thread. Finally they announced, "Behold! The clothes are finished!"

The emperor came to them with his most distinguished cavaliers. The two swindlers raised their arms as though they were holding something and said, "Just look at these trousers! Here is the jacket! This is the cloak!" and so forth. "They are as light as spider webs! You might think that you didn't have a thing on, but that is the good thing about them."

"Yes," said the cavaliers, but they couldn't see a thing, for nothing was there.

"Would his imperial majesty, if it please his grace, kindly remove his clothes." said the swindlers. "Then we will fit you with the new ones, here in front of the large mirror."

The emperor took off all his clothes, and the swindlers pretended to dress him, piece by piece, with the new ones that were to be fitted. They took hold of his waist and pretended to tie something about him. It was the train. Then the emperor turned and looked into the mirror.

"Goodness, they suit you well! What a wonderful fit!" they all said. "What a pattern! What colors! Such luxurious clothes!"

"The canopy to be carried above your majesty awaits outside," said the grandmaster of ceremonies.

"Yes, I am ready!" said the emperor. "Don't they fit well?" He turned once again toward the mirror, because it had to appear as though he were admiring himself in all his glory.

The chamberlains who were to carry the train held their hands just above the floor as if they were picking up the train. As they walked they pretended to hold the train high, for they could not let anyone notice that they could see nothing.

The emperor walked beneath the beautiful canopy in the procession, and all the people in the street and in their windows said, "Goodness, the emperor's new clothes are incomparable! What a beautiful train on his jacket. What a perfect fit!" No one wanted it to be noticed that he could see nothing, for then it would be said that he was unfit for his position or that he was stupid. None of the emperor's clothes had ever before received such praise.

"But he doesn't have anything on!" said a small child.

"Good Lord, let us hear the voice of an innocent child!" said the father, and whispered to another what the child had said.

"A small child said that he doesn't have anything on!"

Finally everyone was saying, "He doesn't have anything on!"

The emperor shuddered, for he knew that they were right, but he thought, "The procession must go on!" He carried himself even more proudly, and the chamberlains walked along behind carrying the train that wasn't there.

Note, posted with permission, DPR!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Walk in the freedom of who God made you

You know I actually have turned LFF into some of the major News Stations of
TV asking them to run stories on churches like this. I don't know if
anything will evolve out of this but it would open many peoples eyes to what
is happening. It truly is like a cult which is something I was warned about
when I first moved to Pullman. God will blow this whole thing wide open and
when he does it's gonna be ugly for a lot of people. I can't say that I
feel sorry for any of them because I truly don't. I've had a hard time
forgiving what has happened to me. I was suicidal for a short while and had
to go on medication for it. I have since then bounced back and am moving
forward in freedom but not without many difficulties in forgiveness. I know
many people are mad at God for all that has happened but God is not people.

I have faced many hardships in the past 2 years. My younger brother passed
away in a tragedy and he was 22 years old. My husbands Grandpa passed away
just a few days ago and his grandparents raised him so it was like his dad
passing away. It has been a nightmare to say the least but God is God and
always was and really pulled myself and family through. The things at LFF
seem so small compared to this and I found that I was very selfish and
holding on to things that I should let go. Those people don't care about
you and they never will and when you hold a grudge or bitterness or hate you
are not hurting them at all cause they are horrible people, you only wasting
your time and life keeping those weights on your shoulders. I know this
truly is not what you want to hear and I wouldn't have wanted to hear it at
all 4 years ago either and would have been angry at someone who tried to
tell me these things but those things will eat you up and you will spend the
rest of your life living your life as a victim and never a victor. If that
is one thing my brothers death proved was life is short and you never know
when you are going. God could close his hand on your life today. Don't let
those people continue to run your lives and how you function in everyday
life 1,2 or even 10 years later. I let them run my life for 3 years after I
left. That to me now looking back was 3 years too long. Don't let them
have the satisfaction. They are just stupid sheep being led to the
slaughter. Walk in the freedom of who you are and who God has created you
to be. Your personality does not need to be harnessed, you don't need to
work on your servants heart, you don't need to focus on God more and quit
your job or school so that you can be more involved in church. You can do
whatever you want. BUT!!! do it for yourself!!! DON"T LET THEM WIN!!!

~ If you want to contact me you can at Otherwise
have a great day just doing whatever!!! :)

Craig Elliott

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Another response to Eric


I am grieving over some of your comments. I know you and Sarah and I know you both are some of the kindest people I have ever met. I also know the level of involvment you had.

Eric, I was much more involved. Got to the CCL level and also spent many hours personally with Vances, Bardens, etc, in their home, with them on vacations, etc.

I guess the thing that grieves me the most is after you left the things I witnessed and the depth of feeling I had for LFF. I knew God wanted to make some changes but LFF leadership refused to make them. I can tell you that numerous pastors in that church and other leadership tried their best to make those changes happen.

Eric, I grieve at times, at times I am angry, at times I am appalled at what I witnessed and the things I saw others go through. It wasn't what I thought it was at all when it came to certain leadership and how they treated those under them. Yes, there were some good ones but the bad ones who say they love but never truly act on it are still there.

I have numerous friends who suffered the worst who don't even participate in this blog.

All I ask is that you not judge those who write here. As a former leader I witnessed so many of the things people are sharing on here. I wish they weren't true, I cried my guts out when I left because there were times I loved so deeply everyone there.

The church you left was not the church it became, if that makes sense. There are still people I care about there but most of them have moved on. And by that I mean several hundred.

I am blessed at your generous heart. You actually took the bible principles and live them. You would be shocked at how much a church leadership could preach that kindness/generosity and yet live as far from it as possible. Please keep showing Jesus like you do, and pray healing for those of us who are somewhat shaken to the core from what has happened to us and those we love.

Note: this was posted under My Truth About Living Faith, but thought it would be good to highlight. DPR!!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

God's Forgiveness vs man's acceptance

To the person who felt ostracized by the leadership at LFF for prematerial sex I am very sorry what happened to you took place. You confessed your sins to your oversight and in turn they talked with thier oversight and it should have stayed there and not have been spread among your peers. Everyone involved in that leadership chain should be ashamed because they knew what type of personal damage that info could cause.

I dont know you or who your HCL was at the time but I am sure they were not out to destroy you but it seems no sensitivity was given to your situation. Asking you to step down from JCD's is very delicate because if your time as a JCD was like mine, we were all friends. It would be normal for the other JCD's to wonder what happened, ask questions and speculate.

If I had a say in your situation which did not because I was not there I would have brought you in closer after you confessed as you probably had many mixed feelings that good mentoring could have helped. Repentance or true repentance I have discovered is not a quick confession, all is forgiven let just forget about it. For myself I have seen it takes time. I can stop the behavior but the desire to continue is still there and if not ministered, mentored or whatever else you want to call it, that desire festers and the behavior begins again.

To me your confession was not only a cry for forgiveness but also help and it seems that more focus was placed on your sin than your continued walk with Christ. The fact you confessed shows you felt what you did was sin but the outcome that took place was so much different that what could have took place.

God does not hate you and he forgave your sin before it took place. People on the other hand are jus that, people. Like I said if it was up to me the focus after confession should be placed on your continued relationship with Jesus to bring you closer where you could have grown from the experience.

I feel for you because like you I had many close friends at LFF and I am sure many are still there. The difference is I live in another city as an exLFFer and dont see any current church members who may or may not be whispering behind my back or yours. When I was there we had a HCL who left the church but still lived in Pullman and I remember at a members meeting being told why he had to leave, what he did etc and to keep my distance. When I saw him at Fantastic Sams to get a hair cut I had to speak to him to see how he was. I remember I told my HCL about talking with the exLFFer and they were concerned that I was ok and I thought it very strange. It was like he was a disease that would spread on me if I talked with him, nonsense.

I too find myself from time to time longing for the good old days with all my old friends but those days are gone. I refuse to beleive that my best days where over 10 years ago as life is what you make of it and it can and will get better or not.

It is nice to belong to something that we see as bigger than ourselves as it can give us purpose and drive. In the end a church is an organization with thier own rules and regulations that are not always fairley administered.

The God I know is not waiting to punish me or you with a big bat. Leaving LFF is not a sin but a choice. To stay at LFF and be a part of LFF is a choice to live life the LFF way. I just could not do that. We were taught the wheel theory if you remember how we are at the center and each spoke was a part of our life and how God should be at the center and each spoke a reflection of him. How easy it is to put LFF at the center and have it involved in every part of our life. It took me a while to believe it but people that go to other churches are saved and living a very happy life with God.

You had prematerial sex and confessed your sin. Dont confuse Gods forgiveness with mans acceptence. The prematerial thing may have excluded you from inner working of LFF and being a JCD but it never took you away from recieving Gods love and forgiveness.

Do whatever you have to do to get closer to GOD. It sound to me that your anger at LFF is preventing you from doing that. Right or wrong anger is anger and will eat you up in the end. I have seen happen more times than I care to have seen. If you are wary about new churches and talking with a Pastor about what has happened to you maybe a secular counselor can help. They wont judge you and will see things from a much different point of view.

LFF is just a church that consumed many of our lives. Take responsibility for what you did, no more no less, and get help to let the rest go

Editor's note: this was posted way down the blog, we wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to read it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What do we do about the war?

I know that this blog is about LFF and those of us who left it. Sorry if this seems a little off topic. But, when I went to LFF I was a very liberal democrat (Jerry Brown Democrat) but I was convinced that I was in error (the unwritten truth was "you couldn't be a Christian and be a Democrat".) Well,(17 years later) I wrote in my notebook and asked Jesus if he would have been a Republican. Guess what, I got a resounding NO! But, he wouldn't have been a democrat or any other party.

I am embarassed to say that I went to the State Republican Convention as a Pat Robertson delegate. (That really opens up conversations!) What were we thinking. The man is totally crazy! But I lay it down to the Cultural Hegemony of our little LFF (and evangelical Christian) world view.

I have just read an article my pastor sent to me about what our president is planning for Iran, I just can't stand still! I have to do what I can to end this insanity! I am going to join protests on October 5th to call for a regime change. This war on Terror is an unwinnable war. The war on Iraq was a total failure, and in my opinion, moved by the pride of a man who thought he heard from God. I believe we need to pray for Bush. We need to pray that God would soften his heart and help him to see the folly of continuing in the way that he is.

I also hope that some of you can find it in your heart to spread the word about the protests. I hope that all of us can look in the mirror and not feel ashamed. Yes, I am a child of the 60's. But that doesn't negate the truth of pacifism. Our nation was mostly pacifist until World War II! It is not focusing on the differences between all people that will bring us together. It is seeing that we really are all one. God's love is big enough to turn this world around. But it will take us to get invovled to make it happen!

May it happen in our lifetime!
with love and peace to you all,
John Brower
(BTW, conguero is spanish for conga player, but maybe against the war is good too!)

Editor's note: posted with permission

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

If you can not say anything constuctive....

This is making me mad. Everyone needs to go read the statement about the purpose of this blog. It is for those who were deeply affected by LFF, most in a not so positive way. It absolutely is not for those of you who try to belittle us and our very real pains and scars. We have never needed to, nor will we continue to try and justify or explain our very real turmoil and pain to you. If you are content with LFF now or your experiance, then please shut up. For some of us, this is our only way of dealing with the pain that happened. We left your church and all it contains. We do not need you to follow us and insult or harrass us any longer. Let us try to deal with our lives as best we are able. And if someone feels the need to say that expressing my story was me being a "whiner" or a "weiner" then have the stones to tell me to my face. If you dare, you can ask me for my contact info.

Gene Spaulding

Monday, September 18, 2006

Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual abuse is a real phenomena. I've listed the 5 Common Characteristics below.

Please see this link for more information:

Spiritual Abuse
by David Henke

Founding Date: Spiritual abuse is as old as false religion itself. While the practice is old, the term "spiritual abuse" may have been coined first by Jeff VanVonderen.

Organizational Structure: Can occur under virtually any organizational structure, but "top down" hierarchical structures are especially well suited to systemic spiritual abuse.

Spiritual abuse is the misuse of a position of power, leadership, or influence to further the selfish interests of someone other than the individual who needs help. Sometimes abuse arises out of a doctrinal position. At other times it occurs because of legitimate personal needs of a leader that are being met by illegitimate means. Spiritually abusive religious systems are sometimes described as legalistic, mind controlling, religiously addictive, and authoritarian.

#1) Authoritarian
The most distinctive characteristic of a spiritually abusive religious system, or leader, is the over-emphasis on authority. Because a group claims to have been established by God Himself the leaders in this system claim the right to command their followers.

This authority supposedly comes from the position they occupy. In Matthew 23:1-2 Jesus said the Scribes and Pharisees "sit in Moses' seat," a position of spiritual authority. Many names are used but in the abusive system this is a position of power, not moral authority. The assumption is that God operates among His people through a hierarchy, or "chain of command." In this abusive system unconditional submission is often called a "covering," or "umbrella of protection" which will provide some spiritual blessing to those who fully submit. Followers may be told that God will bless their submission even if the leadship is wrong. It is not their place to judge or correct the leadership - God will see to that.

#2) Image Conscious
The abusive religious system is scrupulous to maintain an image of righteousness. The organization's history is often misrepresented in the effort to demonstrate the organization's special relationship to God. The mistaken judgements and character flaws of its leaders are denied or covered up in order to validate their authority. Impossibly high legalistic standards of thought and behavior may be imposed on the members. Their failure to live up to these standards is a constant reminder of the follower's inferiority to his leaders, and the necessity of submission to them. Abusive religion is, at heart, legalism.

Abusive religion is also paranoid. Because the truth about the abusive religious system would be quickly rejected if recognized, outsiders are shown only a positive image of the group. This is rationalized by assuming that the religion would not be understood by "worldly" people; therefore they have no right to know. This attitude leads to members being secretive about some doctrines and the inner policies and proceedures of the group. Leaders, especially, will keep secrets from their members. This secrecy is rooted in a basic distrust of others because the belief system is false and can not stand scrutiny.

#3) Suppresses Criticism
Because the religious system is not based on the truth it cannot allow questions, dissent, or open discussions about issues. The person who dissents becomes the problem rather than the issue he raised. The truth about any issue is settled and handed down from the top of the hierarchy. Questioning anything is considered a challenge to authority. Thinking for oneself is suppressed by pointing out that it leads to doubts. This is portrayed as unbelief in God and His anointed leaders. Thus the follower controls his own thoughts by fear of doubting God.

#4) Perfectionistic
A most natural assumption is that a person does not get something for nothing. Apart from the express declarations of salvation by grace through faith God has given in the scriptures, it would be natural to think that one must earn salvation, or at least work to keep it. Thus, in abusive religions all blessings come through performance of spiritual requirements. Failure is strongly condemned so there is only one alternative, perfection. So long as he thinks he is succeeding in his observation of the rules, the follower typically exhibits pride, elitism, and arrogance. However, when reality and failure eventually set in, the result is the person experiences spiritual burnout, or even shipwreck of his faith. Those who fail in their efforts are labeled as apostates, weak, or some other such term so that they can be discarded by the system.

#5) Unbalanced
Abusive religions must distinguish themselves from all other religions so they can claim to be distinctive and therefore special to God. This is usually done by majoring on minor issues such as prophecy, carrying biblical law to extremes, or using strange methods of biblical interpretation. The imbalanced spiritual hobby-horse thus produced represents unique knowledge or practices which seem to validate the group's claim to special status with God.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My Truth About Living Faith Fellowship

Well hello there! I stumbled across your blog a several months ago and found myself very disturbed by what I was reading. As an ex-LFF'er myself, I left LFF with a very different perspective than the tone of your blog. I wrote out the following, but never sent it. Anyway, after much ruminations, I thought I would pass it along to you and see what you think. I don't think it's ready for your blog's audience, but I'm curious if you get similar e-mails? Anyway, here goes…
I ran into Liz Keefer at NW College, where my wife is a professor and had spoken in Chapel to the 700+ students and faculty that attend. In fact, what I wanted to communicate is discussed in the message my wife spoke. You can listen to it here - Anyway, it was a joy to run into Liz (as I find it is when I run into anybody from my time at LFF). We had a good little talk about LFF and she turned me on to this blog. I was, of course, curious about it as I have mostly positive memories of LFF. I haven't read all of it but what I have read kind of makes me seethe a little bit - mostly about the posts that people are putting up. I sure am sorry that so many people feel so hurt and abused by the leadership of the church. To be fair, though, speaking with Liz confirmed what I guessed at but had no way of knowing at the time, that the kids at LFF, who through no choice of their own, were subjected to a very harsh and strict environment. It doesn't take a PhD in psychology to know that not all children will thrive in that type of environment. I am grieved over the PCS kids that I knew from my time at LFF who now I hear have rejected the faith. I pray and petition God to help them and heal them and the rest of what I'm writing has nothing to do with them. So here it is - I really think that a good healthy dose of personal responsibility ought to go along with what most of the people posting to this sight have written. My goodness, we chose our path! We chose to put ourselves and keep ourselves there and perpetuated many of the attitudes and actions that seem to have hurt so many.

My story is simple enough. I got saved at Heartbeat Retreat - and I still PRAISE Jesus for that day and the incredible ministry team at LFF. I did the whole LFF thing for 4 years through JCD's, CAT, etc., etc. etc.. I declare I'm the Christian I am today because of the investment and love that leadership poured into me. The incredible marriage I enjoy is bedded in the principles we were taught in Mirror and Pre-marriage counseling. To this day, I continue in the spiritual disciplines I learned at LFF. I thank God that Pastor Sherri poured into me the vitalness of intimacy with Jesus. To this day I read my bible through every year. I still journal and I hear the voice of the Spirit speaking to me. The servants heart that was instilled in me has not died, but has developed and continues to bless my congregation that I'm in now. Oh, and that whole LFF tithing teaching…ya, I still do that to. Not all to 'the local storehouse' but I would be happy to tell you about the several world vision sponsor children we have, or the list of missionaries we personally support. And to remove any doubt that I've gone from LFF to some other form of LFF you can check out my churches web site at
. Believe me, it's nothing like.

It's been over 10 years since I attended LFF, and I've been a committed, serving member of 3 other churches since then…I'm not 'brain washed'. I'm in love with Jesus! I guess I really believed that we can live a sold out Christian life. I knew that the leadership was keeping a file on me and all my juicy dirt, maybe you've read it? I don't really care! I knew what I was in and I knew what was going on…I think you'd have to have your eyes shut tight not to have seen that. Goodness.

Anyway, after graduation from WSU, I was moving on with my life and had a happy parting from the church. I think back to my life at LFF and compare that to what I'm reading on this blog, and my heart grieves for the people who weren't willing to make choices that would have made their time at LFF a better experience, and in fact a better church. I knew I was a little different from most of my peers, but reading this blog confirms that in my mind. I never quite totally 'fit the mold'.
1. I think that Sarah and I are the only couple that got married at LFF who
Wasn't 'arranged' by leadership (I actually met her and fell in love with her outside of LFF!)
2. Sarah was barely an LFF'er (does 9 months at the church count…I think not).
3. And (OMG) we had people in our wedding party who were not LFF'ers
4. I don't remember for sure - but I think we even got a certain wording in the standard LFF wedding liturgy changed to be more accommodating to our families.

I think our wedding really displays what I want to say. I read in this blog that many felt there was a serious problem with conformity and guilt and what not. Well, there was a great deal of conformity…but was it required? I always found that when I was real with my leadership they always came around and supported me in my godly choices. In fact, I never felt like I was expected to do any particular thing…encouraged, certainly, but never demanded. For example, I remember being new to things and wanting my oversight to tell me what I should do…but I was always told to hear from God first and then let's talk. So that's what I did. Is this not a common experience? Yes, there was pressure to do certain things, but I never felt like I was black listed when I chose to pursue other routes…I don't know, maybe that's some new file system they've created - "THE BLACK SHEEP FILE"??? (I'm laughing out loud at my own sic joke). Anyway, I suppose most of us chose to cave into the pressure, rather than really live out who we are and to be truly open and honest. I love the many posts that have much to say about how, post LFF, they feel like they can really be who they are. It's funny…why couldn't they do that at LFF??? Ya, there was a lot of pressure to conform, I still remember being a little sad when I would see some of my friends cave in to the pressure and cut their long hair off if they were a guy or start wearing too much makeup if they were women. Maybe I never had to deal with the whole conformity thing too much since I already 'looked the part'. But certainly, my actions and my sin where known…yet I still never felt like I was on the outs with anybody. I just lived who I was and was truthful and real with my oversight. I mean check this out…I was 'Confirmed?' in CAT 4 at the end of the year a few weeks before I left…with the leaderships full knowledge I was leaving the church. I say this only to reinforce my feeling that even when they knew I was leaving, I was not snubbed but rather 'blessed' by confirmation. "

I think the reality of most of our lives is that WE are the idolaters. We worship the approval of men more than the approval of God. Talk about idols…isn't that what most of us were approaching…idolizing the Vances or the Bardens or the other Pastors? I really think that most of my peers were afraid to try and be who they really were for some fear of upsetting the pastors. That surely is a theme in the posts I've read here. And maybe they did get on some black list…so what! Jesus certainly was on the black list for his time. Big friggin deal…he still changed the world within the confines of his place. I could go on about the life of Paul the Apostle and John the Baptist and Elijah and Jeremiah and and and...
There was a reason I never became a full fledged member (well, and as a single guy, there was that other issue…you can read about it in my file). I was fully aware of the pressures that walked the halls of LFF when I went there…but I never felt like I wasn't loved for who I was or for not making that next step from provisional member to full member. Maybe I got lucky in my oversight. Truthfully, I will say there were those over me who I knew were just going through the motions of 'investing' in me - but I saw it for what it was and I only pressed into those who I found to be genuine. I don't know a church in the USA who doesn't have fakers in it. Those I really poured my heart out to were the ones who were real and I always felt a genuine return of love.

For all the talk about how the heart of what was taught being the most important thing at the church, I think that it is the heart of the teaching that has been lost on many of the stories I've read on this site. I used to think that if only the incredible love for Jesus that the people at LFF possessed, and their sincere desire to serve and minister to people could be infused into the thousands of other lack luster churches across our land…what a different church we would see today. When I started to hear of the families who were moving on and away from Pullman shortly after P. Phil took the helm, my heart rejoiced! I thought, now surely there will be some communities of faith who will be truly blessed to have former LFF members involved and serving in their communities - and I hope there are. How sad I am now to read and hear that among these families there have been divorces, people have fallen away from the faith and then this blog spot where everyone can dump their ill feelings for the whole world to read. I do think there is a process we all must go through after leaving LFF…it was, for good or ill, and incredible place and I think not to find it elsewhere. Because, from my experience at LFF, I still follow the heart of the teaching…if not all of the form of the teaching. I found Jesus as the bedrock of my life and the strength of my existence - and it is because of the incredible investment made by my home care leaders, by my pastors and by the many other people who encouraged me and blessed me along the way.

I just recently read a book by Erwin McMantus called "the Barbarian Way." This book speaks directly to what I am saying. Following Christ is about following Christ…not the limited menu options available by trying to please a few key people. And here maybe my whole argument breaks down, but I really believe that LFF is a place that people could follow Jesus in the specific calling and in all the uniqueness of who they are. You might say that certain choices would limit your ability to minister at LFF. Sure, if you didn't go to crew or whatever, you would be disqualified for formal ministry through the church…but why is it that we sought those positions and coveted them so? I used to think that the pinnacle of success in ministry would be being a Home Care Leader. But on reflection and after many years of following Jesus, I find that success in ministry is way broader than that. It is my experience and belief that LFF was a place where your ministry passions can be pursued…if we truly gave up trying to fit in or please people or climb some ladder of status. Well, there it is.
Last thoughts - Here are some random thoughts I've had in writing this letter (which has turned into a surprisingly long thing) that didn't seem to fit in anywhere else.

About anonymity - Some of my best friends are Pastors. My wife teaches at a Bible College. I think that pastors are taught in seminary 101 not to open or read anonymous letters. I think this whole anonymous business is rubbish, excepting when you have legitimate reasons to protect someone else. I think that it can do more harm than good. Yes people are more able to open up…but to what end? Are we really helping ourselves by telling everyone about our dirty laundry? What if I'm the perpetrator of the pain? How could I possibly know who this person is and seek reconciliation?

'truthaboutlivingfatih' - Hmmm...pretty punishing name. I suppose many feel they've earned right to use it - to do their own shake down on the church. It reminds me of the TV news story that broke when I was there…The Cult Church in Pullman. I personally liked the way they interviewed Pastor Karl - in the dark and asking menacing questions. Soooo, that was pretty obvious we hadn't had much media experience. Wowzers. I certainly had a very different and very positive experience, contrary to the majority of posts I've read on this site. Truth is a pretty brutal word that many on this site have accused the leadership of abusing. Might you also be doing the same? I certainly came away with a completely different 'truth about living faith'. Could I suggest an name change to 'LifeafterLFF' or something a little less gauntlet like????

My hope - My hope for everyone who has ever been a part of, is currently a part of, or ever will be associated with LFF is simply this: "Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious - the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse." Phil. 4:8 I've found in my Christian walk that what matters most in how we live is loving God first, and then loving people - whether through pain and suffering or through joyous exultation. Dear friends, let us love one another. I suspect if my words are ever repeated to some, they will cause outrage and pain ("you're just blaming the victim!"). My intent is not blame, but to examine what drove us to be 'victims' as so many have accused. Then, at the end of the day, my desire would be healing and reconciliation. I cannot presume to see things from others perspective, but my heart goes out. I remain totally and eternally thankful for the love and rich investment made in my life by Pastor Karl, Pastor Sherri, Pastor Phil, Pastor Kerri and the host of other leadership who gave of themselves for me. Best regards,Eric L. Drivdahl

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lost Friends

Fifteen years ago, I attended my Freshman year at the University of Idaho. My roommate in the dorms was my best friend since Junior High, Cindy. We both attended CCF and gradually became more involved in LFF. Two older college students and members of the church befriended us and were so welcoming and nice (I now realize they were likely assigned to us). Over the next two and a half years, we attended church there together sporadically.

Sometime during our third year at Moscow, I talked Cindy into joining Going for the Gold with me. It sounded innocent enough and I thought we'd enjoy doing it together. Well, when I found out that I'd be assigned someone who I'd be required to meet with one-on-one frequently, I was terrified. I backed out, but Cindy continued on with the process.

It didn't take long until she started changing in subtle ways, and drifted away from me and our other roommate. Unfortunately, she overheard me make a negative comment to our roommate about how rarely we saw her anymore and that our relationships seemed strained. Something to the effect of "Nice knowing ya, Cindy." It wasn't long after that that she moved out (in the middle of the semester). I really have never spoken with her since. I have sent her an occasional letter, or Christmas card and I get a polite, if brief, reply, or her Christmas form letter. Nothing more. I have missed her terribly over the past dozen years. I cannot believe it's been that long. I still choke up thinking about the loss.

Anyway, I found this blog recently, and it is very fascinating to me. I was never deeply involved with LFF, but over time realized there was something "off" about some of the things I saw. Especially after Cindy seemed to cut herself off from her friends and become so entrenched in LFF, I more and more recognized it as a cult of some sort.

When I visited their website, some time ago, Cindy was still a teacher at the LFF school. The other day, her name was no longer listed as a member of the faculty. In reading many of the posts on your Blogg, it sounds as if many people have left the church and I don't know how to find out what happened to her.

I just had to let out my feelings and was hoping to find out if she had moved on. I would love a response at

God bless you in your efforts to make a difference in the lives of those affected by this

(Editors Note, I got her permission to post her email)