Why the secrecy?

Recently, it came to my attention some things the Workers & Friends are doing regarding “hiding” what goes on in their group, and it just baffled me.  I wasn’t aware until just a few days ago that workers lists no longer have addresses on them. I’m assuming they only have the workers names and their field on them.  The explanation given to me was that they didn’t want their information to “get in the wrong hands”.  The workers list in my day would include name, field, mailing address and phone numbers…not their social security numbers or any banking information.  That is what the rest of us have to worry about getting in the wrong hands!

There was a funeral here locally last week and the daughter of the deceased (it was her father who passed) lives in Australia and wasn’t able to attend.  At her mother’s funeral a couple of years ago (she wasn’t able to attend that one either), her niece recorded the service with her I-pad but the daughter told me on Facebook just today that she wasn’t allowed to view that funeral because, once again, their fear that it might get in the wrong hands!!  It was her mother’s funeral!  The family did not want the niece recording the fathers funeral last week but she did on her phone anyway and she sent it.  Good for her!

During the convention season here, a 800 number is given to a select few so they can listen, free of charge at home if they are unable to attend the convention.  I know a number of friends who take advantage of that service and they really appreciate it.  Two years ago, that number was shared with me and I listened in on a couple of meetings.  I appreciated hearing the hymns and identifying voices in both prayer and testimony.  When I asked for the number last summer, I was told I would have to go through one of the workers in order to get that number now.  And, now I hear they have discontinued that service altogether for guess what reason? “It might get in the wrong hands.”

The workers are obviously unaware that just about every church nowadays broadcasts their services over a live stream on the internet.  It’s great if you are unable to be there or have to miss a sermon that you wanted to hear.

It just doesn’t make sense.  They want newcomers to “join” their group yet they are bound up in fear that someone will find out about them.  What are they afraid of?  Are they doing anything illegal? If so, then they need to fix it and make things right.  Are they afraid of getting shut down?  If the Lord wants them to continue meeting publicly, don’t they trust Him to make sure they can?  Are they afraid of being found out because of the money involved that is never reported?  Well, make it right!  Get that non-profit status and/or report your earnings and pay taxes like the rest of the real world.  They are not being honest at all and yet, no one ever looks at it that way.  But they could be!  They say they have ‘nothing to hide’ but obviously they do or they wouldn’t be operating in such a state of secrecy.  Are they afraid of publicity at their conventions?  Well, newspaper articles have been written before, people have picketed conventions before.  If they were truly living IN THE LIGHT, there would be no need for secrecy.  Are they afraid of abusers being found out and reported? Well, thankfully that IS coming to the light nowadays and being dealt with and hopefully stopped.

Secrecy is different than discretion.  Discretion is defined as: “the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information.”  Every business has it’s CEO’s or Board of Director’s meetings and things are discussed there and documented and made available to the general public if requested.  And yes, there are many a private conversation and/or discussion.  Not everyone is in the “know” nor do they need to be.  But the meeting group isn’t so much afraid of their own knowing what is going on as they are of the ‘world’ knowing what is going on.  And once again, I’m sitting here racking my brain trying to figure out what information they are afraid of the “world” finding out.

Decades ago the book “The Secret Sect” was written about the meeting group so obviously, it has been an issue for a long time.  I hope and pray that more and more people in that group stop and consider the secrecy part of things and encourage the workers to truly “walk in the light” and not in darkness.  It’s so much more freeing and healthy in the light.  Also, let us not forget that iconic verse “God is love and perfect love casts out fear because fear has torment.”  Amen.  Why torment yourself or allow yourself to be tormented when torment is never coming from God?

 

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15 thoughts on “Why the secrecy?

  1. I so much appreciate this message, Darla. I haven’t attended meetings for years and so much miss the togetherness and simplicity of it all. But I found out the “truth” about what was going on and being hidden…people being excommunicated and molested, etc. Hiding the guilty teacher from being arrested and ex-communicating people who dare speak about it…. a year ago I had lunch with two sister workers in Colorado…I mentioned this to them….I also mentioned this to my Aunt Lisa who has been attending for about 40 years. I SO wanted to have this in common with my Aunt Lisa… to really believe it is the right way and there is no other way, but I cannot get myself to attend again. 😦 The people I spoke with asked me, “Why did you go and look up the Truth online, anyway?” Well, I was wanting info on where the meetings were in Colorado. But I found unsettled issues spoken of from those ex-workers and ex-communicated…I told my Aunt Lisa that even ex workers are online telling people the truth about the matter.

    I’m very sad that the people I told what i found out are not willing to believe…they think it is just being deceived or going apostate from the Truth of GOD. Arent’ we as Yah’s children supposed to stand for truth and justice? and not take preference over ANYONE??? We are supposed to bring sinful matters to the attention of the congregation and warn everyone that it will not be tolerated and the one doing such a thing will be put out….and leaders taken out of rank. My Aunt Lisa is coming to visit me very soon..havent seen her in 30 years..she is very old now…I need advice on what to say.

    Love and prayers,
    Tina

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    • Tina, I am camping & have really poor cell phone reception so I just now was able to read your message. What you wrote about was right on. I hope you told Lisa exactly what you wrote to me.

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  2. This certainly is an amazing conversation. It seems we are all writing about the same thing each from different vantage points. It is indeed amazing! Thanks to all.
    A system that is of fear based consciousness can only have fear! The time comes when if you are not fearing something/somebody you are not doing well spiritually! Fear becomes the norm!
    Last fall the conference call number instead of attending the convention did get into the wrong hands and I listened to several meetings at Marysville, Kansas. IMO the substance of the meetings was at an all time low yet folks seemed elated at being at such an event! One speaker expounded on Jesus being wrapped in swaddling clothes and applied that to them currently as “not thinking on your own”! Somehow that simply does not agree with 2 Timothy 1:7! It is all an alarming expression of cult!
    For years I have valued the thought of being childlike as Jesus taught in Matthew 18. It has only been recently that I have discovered that a major characteristic of a child is honestly questioning everything and not being intimidated about asking a question. You people who are into child development would certainly know much more than me about the importance of a child asking questions about everything in his space! It is fear that blocks questioning and it is fear that completely blocks spiritual development and growth! I have never known life could be so wonderful without that dreadful component. I have even overcome insomnia since the Lord freed me from fear! For a time I actually had brief flashes of guilt for not fearing!
    May I carry on?! I have discovered the amazing words of the Lord Jesus when He said, “My peace I give unto you…” I have read that for decades, but only now I am beginning to grasp what He actually said! “MY PEACE I GIVE UNTO YOU…” In my life time I have dealt with lots of hand-me-downs, and lots of people have tried to impose their own fears and egos, dogma, etc. on me, but only the Lord Jesus has actually given me His own peace! And He has done it without depriving Himself – another expression of amazing grace!
    Yes, so much evil and corruption in the world has been exposed in the past 12 months. The swamp has really been draining (and I am not sure but the ones who pulled the plug might go out with it). This all leaves me with the strong hope that things that we have come to see and hate will also become exposed and made public, which will intensify the fear level of some and cause others to actually seek reality. I see some of us as being witnesses to others who God leads out, that there is actually life after the fellowship, and no need to fear!
    I like the “barfing” analogy, too. Voiding all that stuff! In my early departure I tried and tried to understand what God was doing in me spiritually that actually affected me physically and emotionally for a time! (Oh, those were dreadful days!) And in my innocent ignorance I coined the expression: God was changing my spiritual DNA! (I really don’t know what DNA is all about!) I was quite amazed at my own personal coinage until I met with a group of people in Phoenix who were teaching the exact same thing! It was a relief that my own experience was not completely radically unique, but there was actually someone else on the planet whose experience was much like mine and yet different! Looking back I would never have chosen it, but now I would not have wanted to miss it for anything! What has been certainly assures me that there is much much more to come! I will let Him choose that for me.
    A few months ago I was given THE SECRET SECT to read. Knowing the great controversy it created in the past I eagerly launched into it. About 3/4 of the way through it I could hardly bring myself to read more – it was actually making me feel ill! How could I have stayed where I was for so long being quite convinced (but with great fear) that I was where I needed to be!
    In my distant past George Walker would come to Marysville, Kansas convention a week ahead of the meetings. It was great having him around and he would frequently gather us all together in the living room in the evening and tell us stories! In one such occasion the conversation lagged a wee bit. Even though I was the youngest one in the room and I was not bashful, I asked Mr. George directly to “tell us about the beginning of the truth”! He leaned toward to and very gently spoke to me in the presence of all the others, saying: “Don’t ever let anybody get you out on that limb.” And that was all he would say! After reading THE SECRET SECT I understand very well why he replied (in kindness) the way he did!
    Carry on folks! Put on your crash helmet and fasten your seat belt of faith.

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    • Thanks for your contribution. So much of what you said is my experience and then much of it gives me hope. I continue to pray for all who are still in that way that their eyes would open. It’s so thrilling to have well known scripture open up more! I love what you shared about the peace of Jesus. Anyway, thanks again. These on line conversations are helpful to me.

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    • Oh my goodness Steve !! That was a great piece you wrote !! It made me think of my own journey and those rough days coming out of meetings … absolutely gut wrenching at times But looking back , I wouldn’t want to change any of it ! At times I felt lonely but I knew God was with me for sure , I felt lost but trusted that God himself was leading me . It was so exciting to learn about God’s Grace towards us and his amazing love ! I’m so thankful that I took that first step out ! It’s so freeing and wonderful to be past all the legalism and unwritten rules and to just be able to Lean on our Lord and trust him completely!

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  3. I have sometimes wondered if all the 2×2 secrecy comes from a widespread fear of being too transparent about what they believe, which would naturally cause outsiders (and consequently insiders) to ask questions or raise concerns about their doctrines, about their ministry, about their history, about their finances, about their legalistic ways, etc., …all questions and concerns about which the ministry finds difficult to clearly answer or justify.

    When an exclusive religion is built on sand with generations of illogical, heretical, and faulty supports continually perpetuated and reinforced, nothing really makes sense to an outsider who might ask questions, let alone an insider who dares to doubt or question anything. …Hence a mystical cloud of secrecy is conveniently developed for protection of the whole shaky shack.

    May we ever pray more earnestly for those bound by spiritual blindness.

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  4. I didn’t know about that change either. It made so much sense then about things “not getting into the wrong hands”, whatever that meant. It’s odd that they would make themselves less accessible.

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  5. This is a thought provoking post. I left that way many years ago and at that time, it felt like the workers were subtly taking the focus off of Jesus and putting it more and more on themselves. Now it seems as though they are almost getting secretive. That doesn’t feel right either. I wonder if they are wanting to become “exclusive” with “inner circles”?? I feel you hit a nail on the head with your comments about taxes too. Money seemed to be becoming an issue years ago even before I left. Anyway, I love when I hear about someone leaving because they became aware of the “deadness” of the way. That is God calling them into light and life. I rejoice when The Shepherd finds His lambs and gently brings them to Himself!! Thanks, Darla!

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  6. Indeed … but why torment ourselves wondering about anything the “workers” say, do or don’t do?

    In the past two years, throughout our nation and much of the rest of the world, political and ideological individuals and groups have revealed more evil work and ugliness than ever before. It’s to the point where many people are “fed up” or “outraged” about one thing or another. But if it is all a part of God’s plan and He is in control, why fret?

    Psalm 37 has been a wonderful comfort and inspiration for me for several months now. V1: “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; (NIV) V7 “… do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” V8 “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.”

    Wow, fretting about evil … leads only to evil! Is anything more evil than contradicting the words of the Lord Jesus who said, “I am the way … no man comes to the Father but by me.”? Yet anyone who believes, teaches and practices group exclusivity (no one comes to the Father but by us!) is guilty of propagating the greatest lie of Satan.

    Fretting about the evil propagated by any exclusive group (and there are many) is somewhat like driving while looking in the rearview mirror – you can only see where you’ve been, not where you’re going. Once the Spirit has enlightened us regarding the evil of group exclusivity, it’s difficult to move forward to better things if we keep looking in the rearview mirror. I thank God regularly for His gracious deliverance from the bondage of deceit and hypocrisy and also pray often that he will do the same for all who remain in that bondage, but I try not to dwell on the past or fret over the evil that any person or group may be doing. That’s not so easy to do after decades of indoctrination, but I’m trying with the Lord’s help … and still have a long way to go.

    v39 “The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
    v40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him. (NIV)

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    • Dennis & Jane, I feel corrected & chastened after reading your comments. You are correct about looking back & dwelling on the past & especially any evil. I know, however that there are people reading this blog who haven’t processed things yet to the extent you have & I want to encourage them to consider new ideas.

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      • I agree Darla. And goodness knows during the first years after leaving the fellowship, we did slowly have to process where we had been and ask ourselves how it happened that we stayed in so long after the spiritual indigestion set in. So I think that part of the process is a type of catharsis (barfing up the bad, so to speak) that was giving us the unease. That isn’t necessarily pretty, but like physical indigestion, barfing what made us sick is part of the process of beginning to feel better! And once we feel better, we find it easier to move forward…..but as I see it, it is all a part of a long process of detoxing, changing our menu, and enjoying the feast of what we now focus on. I know I am still barfing from time to time, and I completely understand where you are. BTW I think you focused on what is actually increasing (the secrecy)…….and I do not see that as “looking back”………. (Jane speaking here)

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