Effective Disengagement from the Leeist Movement, aka the Local Churches

(Author's name withheld)

I had the unfortunate experience of spending a majority of my life in the LC [Local Churches or Leeist Movement]. Having been raised since the age of 4 in the LC my childhood scripting and social structure was primarily defined by the group. Thankfully, at the age of 27 I physically extracted myself from the place, however soon thereafter plummeted into a psychological black abyss and isolation, which took enormous will power to ultimately overcome. I contribute my healing process to several factors:

Complete disassociation from the group and it's membership for a period of time, in order to conduct clear and reasonable analysis outside of the pervasive Leeist influence. [This was not possible in every respect, as some of my extended family are still involved with the group].

Adoption of a very clinical objective thought process applied to a personal study of the LC which lead to:

A contextual understanding and subsequent dismissal of Leeism for the relatively inconsequential body of thought that it is, said inconsequence will no doubt be confirmed as church history unfolds.

Discussion of my thoughts and study with others who had left the LC AND, as a 2nd qualification, were applying critical thinking, intellectual prowess, and logical deductive reasoning in their own personal studies of the LC and their experience therein.

This entire process served to reinforce a stance I had from the time I left i.e. I would not be put on the defensive by any member of the LC. On the contrary, if pressed, I adopted an assertive approach to calmly and thoughtfully dismantle their pathetically weak arguments. Without exception, this shut them down and they never dared to push their doctrinal gibberish or abusive psychological manipulation tactics [perfected to an art form by the so called "leaders"] on me again.

Moving away from the spiritualization of everything as was practiced in the LC, which practice lead to irrational superstitions typically found in primitive Third World tribal communities. [One such absurd superstition is based on their theory of "divine retribution" taught dogmatically from their pulpits complete with "supporting" examples of people being killed in car accidents or dying of cancer, etc. because they left the LC, of course neglecting to point out the obvious: many people die in car accidents and from natural causes everyday who never heard of the LC. Not surprisingly, many in the LC die for the same reasons, however this is considered God's Sovereignty. If you leave the LC and die it is because you left. If you die as a member of the LC it is God's Sovereignty!] Acceptance that there is not a spiritual explanation for everything. Rejecting the extreme spiritualization of daily life and events, finding it to be mentally and socially unhealthy.

Diversifying my attention and interests to include so called "worldly things" such as family events with my wife and children including little league, school plays, travel, sports, hobbies, vacations, education, entertainment, etc. which actually are part of our Western culture and lifestyle. This helped to fill the psychological and social void I felt upon leaving the LC where my agenda, use of free time, etc was dictated by the group's activities not individual self determination

Realizing I was really created in God's image. Of 5 billion people on earth I am unique. I am special as an individual and I have God in me as power. This helped develop in me a strong confidence, and a healthy overall sense of identity and well being, completely separate from the LC and it's trademark corporate group-think.

After shedding the skewed LC paradigm, I gradually began associating with other Christians and learned to appreciate the numerous gifts and productive useful ministries within the Body of Christ, with the realization that indeed God's work is infinitely larger than the exclusive sectarian practices of the LC, which include elitist and arrogant public proclamations that they have all the riches, only they see the unique vision of God's purpose on the earth, etc. while at the same time belligerently denouncing the rest of Christianity as "blind", "poor", etc. This denouncement usually includes the empty disclaimer that it is the "system" not the people they deride, while in fact they actively discourage members to associate with other groups except for the sole underlying purpose of recruiting them for the LC cause. Furthermore, it is clearly evident from their teachings, and more importantly their practices, that they do not recognize or consider any other contemporary ministries as relevant, valid or worthwhile except that of Lee, and the coworkers who parrot him.

I humbly offer you a few insights you may find useful in your own journey out:

The entire PREMISE of the LC "movement" [if it would even qualified to be called such a thing], at best, is based on flimsy logic unsupported by any doctrinal or historical context whatsoever. Their premise is one of "measuring themselves by themselves" as described by the Apostle Paul in II Cor. The "foundation" they use to undergird this premise is as follows:

  • a. Lee is an apostle with inference that he is like a "Paul" in this age and his coworkers are like Timothy, Titus, Silas, etc.
  • b. They are the Body of Christ
  • c. There is one ministry, one stream, etc. on the earth at one time and Lee and his coworkers are it
  • d. The ground of locality is in some way significant

This premise dominates their WORLD VIEW giving Lee, his coworkers and the elders they appoint a self generated, self serving "AUTHORITY" which they recklessly wield to enforce and perpetuate their own agenda, often times instilling intense FEAR in the membership, especially if you disagree with them or leave their minuscule group.

Their entire premise is based on a series [a - d above] of empty, meaningless claims, woven into a seemingly sound body of thought, which is dogmatically and convincingly taught from their pulpits by those who stand to benefit most by the audience's wholesale, unabashed, and shameless acceptance of such ridiculous claims. These several smaller claims support and result in the big, overpowering, all encompassing, threatening claim of: authority. I am embarrassed to admit I allowed my intelligence to be insulted for so long by their swiss cheese logic.

Quite obviously their premise is patently absurd, and by putting it in CONTEXT it can be effectively dismantled, quickly bringing the hollow house of cards tumbling down . . .

Lee is not an apostle, nor are his writings canonized as part of the Bible. Unlike Paul, who preached the gospel to unbelievers and built something from scratch, few people in the LC were even saved through Lee, they were saved by OTHERS WORK and came into the LC as Christians already. They are not the Body of Christ they are merely a very tiny fraction thereof. Lee is not the one ministry, one oracle, etc. on the earth today or people would not be saved and edified en masse by the likes of Billy Graham, etc. The "ground of locality" is a term not found in the Bible, nor is it a concept taught by Jesus in the gospels or the apostles in the epistles. For the most part it is a convenient way for Lee and coworkers to justify dividing themselves from other Christians, crowning themselves with a unique elitist status, all the while falsely claiming oneness with the whole Body of Christ.

Since this is the case, their frivolous claims to any authority is based on nothing. Simply saying they have authority does not make it so. Friends, you do not have to let these people, especially their so called "leaders", intimidate you. Most of their "leaders" are masters at it. They learned from the best. Lee's psychological abusiveness is legendary. If you find you simply must confront these people, for the pure pleasure of practicing your argumentation skills, I suggest you always establish premise first. [It may sound something like: "I can not discuss this with you until we establish a few guidelines. Since you believe you have all the riches, and you are the best group with the one ministry etc. how can we have an open ended conversation? This will be a conversation of, you trying to convince me or manipulate me into adopting your stance; not two people with intellectual integrity and honesty exploring possibilities. I will be the student and you will be the teacher. The problem with this dynamic is, I am not your student nor do I intend to be. Furthermore, I do not believe you have all the riches. You are not the best group, you do not have the one ministry, and no amount of discussion is going to convince me otherwise. Having established this, if you would still like to discuss something I may have some time . . .] This will catch them completely off guard, and serve to neutralize their baseless superiority complex. Thus you will be looked upon as someone to be reckoned with, a person of substance not to be taken lightly. This in itself, will probably win the day for you, as they no longer have someone to victimize, but no doubt with some regret on your part as your argumentation practice session will be cut short!

After you successfully extract yourself from the LC and have anything less than flattering comments about the place, you will no doubt be labeled by them as: "leprous", "bitter", "rebellious", "poisoned", "damaged", and all manner of derogatory terms reserved for those who leave. You may even be "quarantined"-- a typically self absorbed LC practice [it is based on the supposition that you recognize their quarantining "authority", since their authority is baseless the whole idea of quarantining is quite meaningless to all but the ill informed], adopted from JN Darby of the Exclusive or Closed Brethren movement, which forbids you to contact any of their members unless you repent to the LC "leadership" and subject yourself to their self proclaimed "authority". After their application of these strong arm tactics, if you still refuse to recant, they will probably resort to sweeping generalizations, dismissing your "negativity" as being due to some undefined "personal problem" you had while in the LC. Not to worry, this is merely a red herring specifically designed to direct attention away from the substantial issues you are addressing while attempting to belittle you and in some abstract way, make you the culprit. Although, it is at times very difficult, try not to let these tyrannical abusive techniques bother you.

While you work through the leaving process, I recommend you surround yourself with people - family and friends, who really care about you as a person, unlike those in the LC who are looking for unquestioning, agreeing recruits, for their "Higher Cause". I hope my few words can be of some help to you.

Please address any correspondance to: exitstrategies@hotmail.com

Editor's notes:

The text of this piece was not edited in any way from the original contribution.

"Local Church" Information Site
Studying Witness Lee and the "Local Church" from the evangelical Christian perspective

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