A CAUTION NOT TO COMPROMISE! Maria #251 DO 2968 2/94
1. I'VE BEEN QUITE CONCERNED about what's happening both in England and Australia, where these court cases are going on, and the kind of compromises that the Family there feel they have to make. I hope they aren't justifying pulling their punches by the changes presently taking place in the Family as a whole, such as our loosening our rules on contact with TSers, the softening of our attitude toward our teens and others leaving by helping them on their way and even trying to make their landing place as comfortable as possible, and also the reconciliation ministry.
2. While these may seem to be "compromises" of a sort, or at least changes in our policy, they have been done with much prayer and the counsel of the top leadership of the Family, and we have received the Lord's direction on these things. Although these steps may have been taken partly because of our considering possible System repercussions if we did not "loosen up," we believe that the Lord allowed the System pressure in these areas in order to help us make the decisions we did. This was His way of nudging us to make these particular decisions, because He knew that this was the right and the good thing to do.
3. For example, in our opening up to the TSers more, I think we all can see how the Lord has been very much in this, even if the idea did come about as a result of our needing their help in the court cases. But I think we are ready for this now, whereas before we weren't. In the past we could not have had more openness with the TSers and our ex-members. But now, after years of growing stronger and more united, we should have reached the point where we can, once again, open our doors to some extent to these folks. We should now be strong enough and know the standard well enough that we can handle these outside influences, whereas before it would have been questionable as to whether we could have. We are all seeing the wonderful fruits of this contact with our TSers, and even to some extent with the ex-members.
4. As far as our attitude towards people when they leave, especially our teens: Although the softening of our attitude may have been brought about partly as a result of the pressure of the System, I believe the Lord allowed this pressure to make us consider this change in our attitude, because it's a good one, and it's an improvement, and we're now able to handle things more wisely. We're now able to find a better balance between our love of the person and our hatred of their sins, and we have more wisdom in how to distinguish between the two.
5. So I make no apologies for what some might consider "compromises" that we have been making as a Family, and I think they have been very good moves and they are guided by the Lord and confirmed by Him. However, I don't believe that every compromise that our Homes have been making has necessarily been right. I think some of it has been out of line, and some of it has been excessive, and some of it has resulted in a decided weakening of our members, and has exposed our young people to System influences that are very ungodly and very opposite to the Word.
6. I think the looseness that our Family in Britain, and especially Australia, have allowed their children to get into in regards to System music and novels, etc., has not been good at all. I definitely don't think we had to do these things, and I don't think the Lord has blessed it. We and top leadership and WS never endorsed these things; in fact, they didn't seek our counsel about these matters. They basically compromised on these points out of an underlying fear that being seen as "too strict" in these matters would work against them in the court cases. Now they have to deal with the negative effects of these compromises, and we pray that they will not be permanent.
7. I don't think the fact alone that we don't allow our children to read ungodly novels or listen to hard rock and other kinds of System music would lose the case for us. If our enemies didn't have these things to criticize us for, they would still have a thousand more. So the excuse that we have to appear like the System and read their books and listen to their music isn't a good enough excuse to give the Lord. I certainly don't think it's going to do as much as they think it will in even helping them to win the case. It is just another of the Devil's devices to get the world into our children and young people and get their minds full of doubts and questions and the temptations of ungodly worldly wisdom, attitudes and relationships.
8. This is another case where they could have taken the Word, the Bible, and had more than enough reason to say, "This is why we don't read ungodly novels, and this is why we don't listen to hard rock and many other kinds of System music." But they didn't stand on the Word, which I believe the Lord would have blessed. In the long run, their battle would have been much easier, but at the beginning, of course, it takes much more faith to step out on the Word alone.
9. I think our Socialization statement says it all, but if we don't live up to our Socialization statement, then the Enemy has an inroad and knows that you can't stand on that as your defense because you're not living it, and that the Socialization statement doesn't mean much in your life.
10. Well, God bless them, they've done pretty well in most things and I don't want to condemn them, but I did have to bring this point up, since we're now seeing the problems that these compromises have caused in the lives of our Family in England and Australia.
11. God bless you all, you're doing a wonderful job. I'm encouraged by the progress our Family has made. Don't be discouraged that things are moving slower than you had hoped. Just keep praying, following the Lord, shepherding, visiting and loving the sheep, and the Lord will bring about the victories!
(Please see reactions to this Letter from the Melbourne teens in Personal Letters #1, GN 600.)
(Reaction from a Pacific shepherd to Mama's "Caution Not to Compromise":)
GBY! ILY! I wholeheartedly agree with what you shared about the need to stand on the Word. I think this is one of the biggest battles I have seen since being involved with these court cases--and that is the need to desperately hold on to the Word and use the Word to rightly divide the truth.
The lawyers, as well as the other academics we meet, can come on so strong with their opinions, and it can all sound so right. For example, the other day, when encouraging us to bend on a certain point, our lawyers asked our Melbourne legal team, "What is more important to you, your children or protecting the Family?" As you pointed out, protecting the Family is protecting our children; there is no difference. But the Enemy is always looking for a way to get in and get us off on another tangent and away from what is the real standard and the real truth.
It is a constant battle to stay on guard with all that we are getting hit with, to constantly cling to the Word and ask the Lord how He sees what is being said or required of us. The input these outsiders give is always so logical, and not only appeals to your intellect and makes you feel stupid if you don't agree, but it also appeals to your emotions or some sensitive spot, such as, "Don't you care about your children?"
It's almost like the Devil knows he can't trick us outright through the allegations of our enemies, as the lies are so obvious, but he uses these inside attacks against our hearts and minds, and like a gas of deceit tries to poison our convictions and gradually wear away at us until we are compromising the Family standard without realizing it.
Your message really sobered me and made me realize how important it is that I stay in prayer and constantly weigh up everything that is being asked of the legal team as to whether it is another inroad of the Enemy and something that is designed to weaken us in the Word and our standard. I am so thankful for the constant input from you and others, as being so close to the situation, it is easy to lose sight of what is really taking place.
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(Report from Australian shepherdess on compromises in the Homes:)
When we first arrived back in Australia a year ago we were quite surprised to see the amount of System input and contact with the System that the Family in Australia had.
Of course, it is natural that there was a lot more System contact, since the Family here is going through persecution and court cases. Particularly in Sydney, where I was based at the time, the socialization activities were going on, which also naturally gave us a lot more contact with outsiders and System influences. However, at the time, one of the things that struck us as being an unnecessary compromise was the amount of novels and books that were available for the children to read in the Homes.
Movies. We also noticed that the standard was quite low in the area of previewing and pow-wowing movies and documentaries before the children, JETTs and teens watched them. As far as I knew, at that time there weren't a lot of unrecommended movies being watched; in fact, I don't think there were any. But the fact that the video viewing was barely being shepherded or pow-wowed wasn't bearing very good fruit in the lives of the kids.
Unhealthy foods. We also noticed that in our provisioning we were accepting a lot of unhealthy foods.--For example, sweetened yogurts and things with a lot of white sugar in them, heavily processed breakfast cereals, etc. At that time we sent an advisory to all the Homes sharing our feelings on the bad fruit and effects of allowing these compromises, and we received good reactions from the Homes, saying that they agreed and wanted to work on raising the standard in these areas. God bless them!
Pow-wowing with the teens: We had a pow-wow with all the Melbourne teens one night after receiving Mama's counsel. At first some of them didn't seem to feel that there was much of a problem with compromise among the teens. But after a while as the pow-wowing continued, the Lord brought to light how these compromises have slowly seeped in. Obviously it's a problem that has developed over the past couple of years, so that the little bit of System reading and System music that was initially allowed has slowly grown and subtly crept in, and most people hadn't realized how much it had grown.
Apparently our lawyers had even mentioned to the kids that they should bring System novels to read in court when they're there so they're not seen sitting around reading the Word. Hearing this helped to expose how right on Mama's counsel is, as our lawyers' reasoning was to make the kids look more so-called "normal and acceptable" to our enemies who are watching them in court. Someone brought up the point that the reason our lawyers asked us to do this was so the other side wouldn't see what Family literature we were reading and get more information, but we concluded there's plenty of Family lit they've already seen and already have in their possession that we could read, and it's certainly not going to make any difference to our court case.
As Mama mentioned, if we compromise in these areas, they're going to continue attacking us on other points. As we talked about it we saw it might even cause us to lose the case, in that when we're called upon to stand up for the truth we'll be weakened and unable to stand up for our convictions and give solid, Word-based answers, which is what the Lord will use to help us win the case.
On the very day we had the pow-wow, a group of teens had gone to the library and gotten some new novels to read. After the pow-wow they came up to me and said, "What should we do with the books that we just got out of the library?" I asked them, "What do you think you should do with them?" Their answer was, "We should take them back." GBT! In the pow-wow we talked about how at this point in time, especially as so many have been having a steady diet of System input, it seems it would be a lot safer to stick with the Word for now, in order to strengthen our convictions and prepare us for the battles that we're faced with.
The majority of the teens confessed in this pow-wow that their hunger for the Word was not what it should have been and that they were having a hard time feeding themselves. We talked about some ways to combat the problem, such as asking for prayer, finding an interesting Word study to dig into, and studying the Word on the ministries that they are most interested in. They were inspired about this and looking forward to diving in.
Other deviances from the standard: Mama also mentioned that she'd be interested in hearing what other deviances there were where we compromised our convictions and the Family standard because of the fear of the System. This is something that we've encouraged the Homes here to have Home meetings on and to pow-wow, as we all agree that there are quite a few areas where we've gotten off track.
Language: I haven't heard any actual swearing, but in hearing the way the younger children, JETTs, teens, and even the adults speak, our standard of language isn't as high as it should be or what I'm used to hearing in the Family. There is especially a lot of disrespect in the way the children talk to each other. There's a lot of System slang used. Even some of our lawyers have commented, "Is that the only type of language your teens know how to speak?"
I personally didn't notice it so much among the teens, until one day I heard some of the little MCs talking to each other in a real disrespectful, unloving way, and it struck me that they must have gotten that from the teens. Even the way some of the adults speak to each other and to the children around the Home isn't as sweet, kind, loving and respectful as it should be.
One sister said that she's even surprised at the way that she speaks, compared with how she used to talk before the persecution. She said being around System people and the lawyers a lot, you get used to hearing a lot of swearing and cussing and you pick up on it. Not that the adults are swearing, but the standard has definitely dropped, and the bad effect is that when our adults hear the children talking disrespectfully or with lots of slang, they don't notice it so much, and it hasn't been corrected and addressed.
Australian English can be very slangy, coarse and crude, and living in this country it's very easy to slip into the same, but it's an area that we shouldn't allow ourselves to "become one" in too much.
Violent and negative behavior and unsupervised time: Another problem that the teachers and adults in the Homes are very concerned about is some of the children's violent and negative behavior towards each other. For example, when they get angry they'll lash out and hit each other and say very unkind things. This happens more within the younger groups. I'm not really sure what this is a result of. It could be from too much novel reading or not pow-wowing videos thoroughly enough. Also, there's a good chance it's from unsupervised time, which is a weakness in the Homes here. If there is a fair amount of unsupervised time, naturally the children are going to develop bad habits.
Discipline: Several of the teachers said they have a bit of a fear of disciplining the children because of the accusations against us in regards to our discipline methods, so oftentimes they're not sure how to handle the problems with the children that come up and just don't do anything about it. This was also a problem in Sydney that the Family experienced during the court case they went through, and was something we addressed quite extensively in a MOM meeting we had there. We encouraged the Sydney Homes to have a Home meeting on the Home discipline standard, do a Word study on it, then set up Home rules and consequences in counsel with all concerned, including the children. This is a real need in Melbourne, as from what we've observed there isn't any real united discipline standard in the Homes. (Note: Thank the Lord for the implementation of the Family Discipline Guidelines, GN 591, published several months after this report and now a vital part of the Charter.)
Faith for healing: One of the teachers in the legal Home shared his heart with me about a tendency to go to the doctor without first really praying and seeking the Lord, particularly about sicknesses that the children have. The tendency is, rather than praying and waiting for God to work, to immediately go to the doctor and take medicine. He said he's even noticed that the JETTs don't ask for prayer if they have a headache or something, but they'll immediately go to the first aid kit and get an aspirin or Panadol. I know this is easy to fall into even if you don't have the System breathing down your neck and accusing you of neglect. (Note: All medications should be kept in the care of an adult overseer.)
There was a time at the HCS when we were making a lot of trips to the doctor. The excuse was to "just see what was wrong," but in about nine cases out of ten the doctor would prescribe medicine. Then we would end up taking it, and there wasn't much room for prayer or faith for our healing. This weakness was highlighted and we then learned to first go to the Lord and trust Him for our healing, and seek Him as to why we had the afflictions and what lessons He was trying to teach us before running off to the doctor.--Not that we never went to the doctor after that, but we were a lot more prayerful about this decision. We found our medical bills decreased and we saw the Lord doing a lot more healing miracles.
One brother said he feels like people don't even dare mention faith healing in the local Homes because of the fear of the System and the accusations against us along these lines.
Sports: Some kids are very interested in System sports, which to a certain degree isn't bad. But with some of the boys in particular, their desire for this type of knowledge of the world is not healthy, to where it's bordering on an addiction. They're always scanning the newspaper and trying to catch the TV news to find out the sports results.
Please do pray for us that we can continue to follow through on all of these things and uphold the Family standard and not give any place to the Enemy and his worldly ways. It's so true that it's robbing our ranks of spiritual strength, our hunger for the Word and our ability to be able to fight this big, important battle that we're presently faced with. We're trying so hard to fight to protect our children from being polluted by ungodly outside influences, but at the same time they are beginning to seep in through compromises the Homes are making due to the case. We're very very thankful for this counsel from Mama to help us get back on the right track and to rid our lives of the System's pollutions. PTL! (Note: Our Australian Homes are doing much better now and have made a lot of progress, God bless them!)
The Importance of Upholding the Standard with Our Friends!
(From North American shepherdess:)
While we were visiting one of the Homes, one of our academic friends came by with a couple of rented videos to show the children so he could have some fellowship time with them. This is the third time he has done this in the past few months, and it was a very sweet gesture on his part. However, there was some disunity in the Home over this, as the videos that he brings are questionable. The videos are not rated, for one thing, and sometimes even harmful according to our Family standard. This particular evening he brought over two movies, one of which was a very violent "Bugs Bunny" cartoon.
The next morning we discussed this with the Home shepherd. He explained that it is very special for this man to be getting so personally involved with the Home like that--something he has never really done before and which is a big change for him. Even some of our other academic friends are surprised, as it is quite out of character for him.
The Home shepherd explained that it means a lot to this friend to select the videos, and in his view, he is trying to pick things that are innocent and geared towards kids, though "Bugs Bunny" was full of total meaningless violence. Evidently the other ones our friend has selected before weren't as bad.
One problem we see from this is, for one thing, they have never discussed as a Home how to approach this situation with the videos, so most of the adults and YAs don't understand why their shepherd is allowing it, which has caused some division and discontent. The other thing we were wondering about is if it would be good for the Home to show a little more conviction about it--like in the Letter "Conviction and Honesty" (Maria #51, DB3).
We certainly wouldn't want to offend our good friend, nor risk losing our friendship with him. Lord help us, we don't want to be self-righteous or dogmatic about it, but we are concerned about the spiritual condition of our children. I was even wondering, since our friend has read so much of our material and probably knows our standard in many areas, if he might even be testing our convictions. He is also bringing over soft drinks like Coca-Cola for the children for these video nights.
We are praying for wisdom and direction in this case and have asked the Home shepherd to counsel with the Home about it. So far no one has said anything to our friend and they have shown nothing but love and appreciation to him, and he is genuinely enjoying the love and fellowship with the children!
(Mama's reply to the above report:)
12. (Mama:) I don't think the situation with our academic friend is that difficult a subject to judge. I don't know why the Home can't lovingly approach him and offer some ideas of good movies that he could bring when he comes to the Home. They could just tell him that normally in our Homes we don't let the children watch those particular kinds of videos because of our convictions, and go on to explain the kind of attitudes or behavior that those particular types of movies instill in the children, etc.
13. He also certainly should be able to understand about the Coca-Cola and soft drinks, and that juices would be a very good alternative and more healthful, and would save on the children's teeth and prevent hyperactivity, as Coca-Cola has a high level of caffeine.--And that it would also help to uphold our Family standard and wouldn't bring questions into the kids' minds of why we are not doing what Grandpa has told us to do. I think this is just another sample of how influenced our people let themselves be by our outside friends.
14. As was brought out in the above report, he may just be testing us, and if he is, how sad that we failed the test! It just shows how easy it is to water down our convictions, but how much damage it does to everyone involved.
15. The saddest thing is that it doesn't take one of our outside friends to make our Family compromise.--They've certainly in many instances done it on their own without any outside help! One report we heard recently mentioned that some Homes are drinking a lot of soft drinks and eating all kinds of junk food, and they don't even have an academic friend or a court case to blame it on.
16. Certainly it seems like our friend would be willing, for the sake of the children, to get his videos ahead of time so that the adults can preview them. If that bothers him, well, I still think he'll be able to take it; and even if it keeps him from coming over to that particular Home so often, he is already having a lot of contact with other Homes that will make up for it.
17. We can't water down or throw away all of our convictions just to please someone. Although our friend might be a little hurt, I'm sure he would respect us much much more if we stay true to what we believe and what is best for our children.
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family