Friday, December 7, 2018

Loving a Lost Mormon

Woman in temple clothing inside a Mormon Temple
I had a pre-planned phone call with a friend I met whilst in YWAM on a ministry trip to the Mormons at the temple opening in Taipei, Taiwan. I went with a small group of others who had a heart for Mormons to pass out tracts in Mandarin Chinese at the temple open house to those who were attending so they could know exactly what happens in the temple that the guides & missionaries won't tell them. They will never know, even years after being members of the Mormon church what goes on in the temple unless they go themselves as they are not allowed to discuss it outside of the temple. This was before you could just google it & discover via video or word for word text what happens.
The one thing I did appreciate in my early years in YWAM was that one of the leadership couples were involved in a ministry to Mormons & the wife had come out of Mormonism to Christ. I moved to Hawaii from very Mormon Idaho, so already had a heart for Mormons when I met them. Unfortunately, the other leaders told this couple that a ministry to Mormons was NOT part of YWAM Honolulu's calling (as if we are not called to ALL unbelievers) so they were pushed out! After they left, the abuse in YWAM Honolulu intensified!
Anyway we met Amy, a young Mormon missionary from Salt Lake City, Utah who was inquisitive about what we had to share & our motive for being there. She was told not to talk to us as the Taiwanese might think that we could be Mormon missionaries as well. She did not do what she was told & we became friends. The next few years, she came (still a Mormon) to stay at the Honolulu YWAM base to spend time with me. She also visited me when I was in Oregon to visit my family & when I was in Idaho visiting friends. I visited her a few times in Salt Lake. Several of us from YWAM went to an Ex-Mormons for Jesus conference in Salt Lake & stayed with her devout Mormon family. The difference in our beliefs did not hurt our friendship. How many professing Christians would have open up their homes to people attending a conference that was anti-Christian?
So as often happens in life, we lost contact for at least a decade. She became a lawyer in LA but due to medical problems, had to quit working. I have prayed for Amy almost every day since we met that she would put her trust in Jesus alone.
I was a bit apprehensive about talking to her again after all this time. I didn't need to worry. The connection was instant. She told me she had gotten married, had gone on another Mormon mission with her husband to Germany & had settled in Salt Lake. She also shared that her marriage was not what she'd dreamed it would be. Most of our lives are not what we envisioned as youth.
I was transparent with her about YWAM and the spiritual & emotional abuse that I experienced there, mostly after we had met. She told me how hurt she was by some of the Christians (from YWAM) who she felt passed judgement on her for being Mormon. Not all showed her unconditional love. It was a great visit for close to two hours! Neither of us judged one another or came across as better than the other or came across as disappointed that we did not eventually come over to the other's side.
We discussed how we could both tell when we were talking with someone whether they were speaking out of love, pride, superiority or whatever. I shared how I do not discuss politics or religion, for the most part on my personal FB page as I have friends who are atheist, Christian, Mormon, Buddhist, Hindu & others. I also have friends who are way left & way right in the political spectrum. I have never noticed in a political or religious argument where one side goes to the other. I have found instead that there are hurt feelings & lost relationships as well as feelings of superiority.
I told Amy that I still have a love for Mormons & belong to FB groups where both mainline Christians & Mormons are members & discuss theological issues. If there is bashing in them, the offending members are banned. Every now & then, someone will get on their high horse (from BOTH) sides and come across holier than though. That attitude NEVER gets any converts!
If you think you can intimidate people to believing a certain way, you are mistaken. Just because someone believes the total opposite of what you or I believe does not mean they are any less valuable as a person or that they are not worthy of love & respect. This does not mean you have to agree with their beliefs or values but should all be adult enough to treat one other with kindness & respect.
Each person's YWAM experience & story of abuse was real to them and personal. We are all individuals & if someone says they were abused, we need to accept that they are coming from an honest place, even if we can not get behind their skin & truly understand them. How many things in our own lives do we not understand? How can we think we can fully understand one another? We ALL want to be heard & understood. Often, we are thinking about our responses rather than trying to hear & understand what is being communicated in an argument or discussion.
We are ALL products of a series of events & people in our lives that make us who we are, believe & act the way we do, be it positive or negative.
We are ALL broken people. Some are just better at wearing masks than others.

PS: When a post looks strange, it is because I could not change the color of the font or background.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Do Your Reasearch on YWAM


I find this appropriate when telling people of my YWAM experiences that come across as not believing me or think I am stretching the truth. Google "YWAM cult" and "YWAM abuse" and you will find a LOT more examples of abuse than mine. There are currently over 250 members of the Facebook group, "Spiritual Abuse in YWAM" which continues to grow with similar stories from YWAM bases around the globe.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


Intimidated into Silence


A friend on Facebook asked that I tell another group on FB my experience of YWAM. I was happy to do so.

Recently, a member of the recovery from YWAM abuse group I started said that she is being intimidated in removing her blog exposing YWAM that she wrote about. The person went to far as to call her parents to see if they could persuade her to take the blog down. This woman is an an adult, not a child. In the end, she would not take it down.

Here is what I told the group:

"YWAM is indeed a cult. Unfortunately, I know this from spending 12 years with YWAM Honolulu. Mostly young people join YWAM wanting to serve the Lord & put their leaders up on pedestals as spiritually superior to themselves. The leaders feed into this notion by how they usually act in public meetings & are often good at speaking on evangelism.

There is much manipulation at YWAM to imply something is God's will for you. I often heard, "God told me to tell you..." I have a direct line to the Throne of Grace, the Lord could easily tell me himself. They have what they call "Principles for Effective Intercession". http://www.prayerforallpeople.com/p4ei.html At the end of going through these steps, sitting in a group, you wait on God to "get a word from the Lord". Then, you go around the group & people say, "What did you get?". People are embarrassed to say, "nothing", so usually have something to say. One person might get, "A red bicycle". Another may get "Taiwan". This may lead the group to then pray for an anonymous person in Taiwan on a bicycle that needs help. One time, a person who'd immigrated from Russia to Australia was in the group. Someone "got from the Lord" to pray for her relatives still in Russia. She told him, "I don't have ANY left in Russia"- but we prayed for them anyway! The steps to get to the throne of Grace seemed more like an incantation & the whole thing New Age.

Intercession was mandatory three times a week. One time the base leader said he wanted to make it optional. The very next intercession time, only he showed up for it so they were immediately made mandatory again.

There was mandatory fasting the first Friday of the month & often on those days you could see many other fellow YWAMers at the nearby McDonald's. They sometimes had mandatory 24-hour prayer chains as well. Your hour spot may have been from 3-4 am. I am ALL for prayer but prayer because it is mandatory is not pleasing to the Lord. It must come from the heart!

One of the leaders told me, "It is your job to OBEY the leaders- even if you think it is wrong! If it is, we are the ones who will be held accountable!" Another leader would get in your face & say, "Are YOU questioning MY authority?!!" We were often told we needed to "give up our rights". In saying that though, it was not to submit to God but to submit to the leaders.

There were often prophetic words from the Lord in meetings that never came true. Of course when the prophecies turned out to be false, it was never mentioned.

My entire 12 years in YWAM, I know of not ONE person who came to a saving relationship with Jesus through me or anyone else (my job on base was mostly graphics) that I can think of. Of course there may have been some, but I know of none.

A few years ago I started a group on Facebook for spiritually abused victims of YWAM. There are now 193 members who experienced similar stories of abuse all over the globe. Many are now atheist or agnostic. Many left God behind when they mistakenly saw YWAM leaders to be an example of God's character. One of the leaders at the Honolulu base when I was there is even a militant atheist now. The group has been very helpful in promoting healing & to let these people know they are not alone. There is another group for people who were in YWAM who are now atheist. Since I am not in that category, I do not belong to that. I have grown in my relationship with the Lord much more since leaving than I did the 12 years I was in YWAM & left feeling emotionally & spiritually dead inside. Still, I mistrust anyone in spiritual authority. I have healed a lot, but the scars run deep.

Several people in the group have written letters to Loren Cunningham to share their abuse stories with no response. One even met with him personally, but nothing changed.

People who join YWAM (usually in their late teens or early 20's) after their Discipleship Training School, which everyone must first take when joining the group are then told they do not need to go off to college or find a full-time secular job. They are encouraged to go on school or base staff. There, most will be for years living in poverty & not having the monies for basic needs, especially if from the third world. The ones who are charismatic leaders, good at speaking & writing books go on the YWAM speaking circuit & their traveling expenses are paid to go speak all over the world as well as given "love offerings" at every place they speak. There were times when base staff asked to use a base car for a doctor's appointment & were denied. The leadership's actions showed they did not care for the sheep.

I was close friends with the secretary of the base director at the time. She told me she was so mad because she typed up his support letter asking people for financial support & sounded in need when in reality, she would take care of the monies that would come in from his speaking & books & know how much he had. It wasn't long before he & his wife bought a home in Honolulu where the average price is about $800,000.

People in the group I started, as well as myself have been verbally attacked & accused of being of the devil & just bitter to try & silence our voices of sharing first hand, the damage YWAM can do.

There was mandatory fasting the first Friday of the month & often on those days you could see many other fellow YWAMers at the nearby McDonald's. They sometimes had mandatory 24-hour prayer chains as well. Your hour spot may have been from 3-4 am. I am ALL for prayer but prayer because it is mandatory is not pleasing to the Lord. It must come from the heart! monies for basic needs, especially if from the third world. The ones who are charismatic leaders, good at speaking & writing books go on the YWAM speaking circuit & their traveling expenses are paid to go speak all over the world as well as given "love offerings" at every place they speak. There were times when base staff asked to use a base car for a doctor's appointment & were denied. The leadership's actions showed they did not care for the sheep. I was close friends with the secretary of the base director at the time. She told me she was so mad because she typed up his support letter asking people for financial support & sounded in need when in reality, she would take care of the monies that would come in from his speaking & books & know how much he had. It wasn't long before he & his wife bought a home in Honolulu where the average price is about $800,000.


People in the group I started, as well as myself have been verbally attacked & accused of being of the devil & just bitter to try & silence our voices of sharing first hand, the damage YWAM can do."


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Loren Cunningham, High & Lifted up!


This is Loren Cunningham's entry into the 50th anniversary celebration at YWAM Thailand. Can you imagine Jesus' disciples allowing this done to them when only Jesus is worthy to be high & lifted up? 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Motivation


Will YWAM leaders ever realize that love & joy are more motivating than guilt, shame, fear & control?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

How one Feels in YWAM


As soon as I saw this sculpture, I related to it immediately as to how I felt in YWAM, empty & hopeless. It's strange how people are volunteers at YWAM but more is expected of them & their personal life is YWAM's business when there is usually less micro-managing at a real, paying job. A life in YWAM is a wasted life.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Peter Pan Syndrome


I was thinking recently that a lot of people who are in YWAM may have the Peter Pan Syndrome. Socially immature persons in their 30's or so who like to enjoy themselves, like teenagers without responsibility. They may want to avoid a serious job or relationship. They are people who are scared of & don't want to grow up. They want to have adventure & fun. They do not want to loose that sense of comfort.


The 12 years I was in YWAM, even though I was obviously growing older, each new school would mostly have students from their late teens to early twenties, so I was around young people all the time & it did not seem like I was growing older since the new recruits usually weren't. There were students who admitted that they came to YWAM Honolulu for the surfing, not evangelism.


After several years of this one suddenly wonders where the years flew & have nothing but stamps in their passport to show for it. You then realize you have little financially or any marketable skill in the real world.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

YWAM's Loss


I have recently been thinking about what a loss to YWAM it is through the years to abuse people and push them out of the organization. We are all individuals with individual personalities and gifts that no one else could fill exactly. When they have put us down & rejected us for whatever reason, they are rejecting those who have been made in God's own image, are unique and are perfect in his sight. Whether we are introvert or extrovert, we were made exactly as God intended. No member of the body is more important than any other from the base director to the person who does yard work all day on base. Anyone who's being involved with YWAM knows that leaders & visiting speakers are put on pedestals. YWAM leaders who wanted to mold us into the image they desired are taking away from our being molded in the image of God that he desired.