Hello to a who visit this sub.
Even in the midst of this pandemic, I am sure everyone here continues to experience the aftermath of what “breaking away” from a religious organization feels like. Whether you classify LLDM as a cult, a church, an organization, or a community of believers, each one of us shares a bond aside from our own personal experiences as previous insiders: a rational, logical, conscious understanding of what the church really is. As a member of LLDM since childhood, I have witnessed firsthand a series of events that the outside world would find monstrous and fanatical. My newfound perspective, though, has allowed me to see the changes that have occurred within the church over the years – some that are obvious, and others not so much. The more obvious changes would include the rise in fanaticism over NJG symbolism, and then the vanishing of logos inside of temples. However, there have been more subtle changes that I think are important to highlight. I want to mention a few changes that I know for certain have occurred, or adapted to the current time as a way of preserving membership and identity. I invite you to think about your own experiences from years ago, and examine the current circumstances of today.
A few of these are the following: Music:
It is obvious that the use of instruments has suddenly been “allowed” and widely accepted. I remember a time where church sermons would shame other religions (Pentecostals, Baptists, etc.) over the use of instruments in their praise to God. Now, it is suddenly okay because the Apostle has granted it. One argument I have heard is that these new “hymns” that use instruments are not done inside a temple, but what does that matter when they are still being listened to as a means to praise God? Do you not praise God (mentally, physically) when you are in a car hearing a hymn? What is the difference between singing a hymn while driving or inside of a temple? Your “soul” is essentially doing the same thing – praising God. During a birthday performance for SOG Samuel Joaquin Flores, I vividly remember he stopped a group of performers to tell the church that what this group had essentially done was praise God in their act. For decades, the doctrine was firm on prohibiting the use of instruments for “praise and worship”. Today, you can walk into a Berea library/store and buy these LLDM Christian Rock albums
, or catch Abdiel Joaquin rocking out at his next concert
. Heck, you can even buy VIP passes
and he throws in a t-shirt. Was there some recent revelation that I missed to hear? Why the change? Marriage:
Sometime around 10-20 years back (for those of us who were around then), you may remember hearing stories of jovenes being ordered to marry for fornicating, or simply being caught alone with another person. Despite some of these people being underage, the “doctrine” demanded that they get together. Personally, a few members of my own family were ordered to marry at 14, 15, or 16 - ages that they had no business taking on such a responsibility. These were not adults who could make rational choices for their own good, but mere kids/teens who were subjugated and ordered to unite with a person they had known for a short amount of time under the direct order of a minister. There may even be someone in your family tree who also married at these ages – it is common in Mexico for people to have married young, but I speak mostly for the people who were here in the U.S. Today, you will not find a minister ordering a 14 year old girl to marry. Why? They don’t want the backlash. They know it is wrong. They know that it is odd to order someone to marry at such an age. Some of these ministers may even argue that it was a “mistake” this young person has made. Does that not contradict the use of authority to sanction underage marriages years ago? Why it is so hard to find evidence today of a minister joining two people together for fornicating, especially those aged 14 or 15? Did God suddenly reveal more strict standards for uniting underage persons to marry? Libertinaje:
As it widely known, any member of the church who wishes to travel out of their home city must ask permission from their minister. If not, your soul is at risk of going to hell if you were to lose your life. This is just another way the church manipulates you to be complicit. Frankly, you need to ask permission for just about anything. A minister once told me that the “right” thing to do in regard to travel was to ask permission before even considering buying tickets (I was planning to visit Europe). Today, you can see “brothers” traveling more than ever. Think of people in your home city, Facebook or Instagram feed, who have left home to visit some other city, state, or country. You will notice that more people are traveling, exploring, going out without the fear of having to ask for permission. Jovenes are traveling and posting on FB and IG without fear or repercussions. If you dig somewhere in this sub, you could even find a fair share of pictures of Adoraim’s adventures throughout the world – I wonder if he ever asked for permission? Anyway, it is funny how these rules have been laxed as of lately. Ministers are probably more willing to let you travel (pre-covid/post-covid) today than years ago. Imagine your teenage grandmother in 1975 asking the minister permission to visit Paris because she wants to see the Eiffel Tower? Her plans, goals, dreams would be shot down in an instant. The minister might even ask if she is mentally ill for asking such a question. Dating:
There is so much to say about dating in church. First, the traditional rule of “3 months” is almost non-existent today. Now, church folks will date for years before deciding to tie the knot. While I am not opposed to marriage, I personally think that knowing someone for 3 months and then deciding to marry is a plan for disaster. The marriages that follow these strict guidelines for marriage in church are few and far between. I am sure everyone here can remember a time when dating would require that you have a “chaperone” with you to avoid any “sin” from happening. How many still do this? I would say none. Dating has become more “mainstream” and has adopted outside rules. I highly doubt anybody follows these ancient rules anymore, especially the youth. Most jovenes would have to hide to avoid being seen alone with someone of the opposite sex (I have my fair share of close calls from being spotted). Things sure have changed. El “pecado”:
According to church rules, there have always been those who sin. The decades old mantra "en la iglesia hay de todo" speak the reality of members' behavior. Sure, there has always been fornication, adultery, concert-goers, club-goers, those with a foul mouth, those who go to the theater, alcoholics, drug abusers, wife beaters, and so on. But have you not noticed how explicit more people have become in their actions, though? More people are willing to show their other side - the side you try so hard to hide from church folks to avoid judgement. More people are willing to expose themselves. More people are willing to take risks. More people are not afraid of the repercussions that follow. This “laugh-now-cry-later” mentality is what has happened with people’s behavior. Overall, the amount of visible “sin” has skyrocketed. In sum, my argument is that “the doctrine” does change.
It changes in a way to adapt or evolve in order to remain alive. If the church is a living organism, it must apply these new changes to how things were previously ordered. For years, NJG has emphasized that the doctrine does not change. Yet, there is plenty of evidence to show that it does. Some folks have speculated that these changes are somehow caused by the ease of technology. This is faulty thinking. Technology was around back then, too. We had TV and radio since the 1940’s, internet since the 1990’s, cell phones in the 2000’s. Plenty of other “distractions” that could be used to argue that these were a cause for such behavior. Just look around you, in your family, your friends, your "brothers" in your local church, and examine if any of these apply.
As always, I invite you to continue to read, think, and ask questions. Do your own research. Come to your own conclusions. Always seek wisdom.
In love and light,