The Thread of Gold
|Feedback: From Those Formerly in the Local Church
[This feedback is interspersed with comments by Jane in italics. Because of concern for
retribution, responders names and locations are not shown, since some of the responders
are still associated in some way with the Local Church of Witness Lee.]
From someone I knew when I was in the Local Church. She lost her husband, home, and
livelihood when she tried to get free from the control of the Local Church in their lives:
I am alone in my life right now but that is a choice I’ve made. Over the years I’ve
discontinued phone calls, not returned letters. I have had cordial acquaintances, but I have
kept my “wall up.” How do I even begin to speak about my life? When I do it’s just in general
terms…. I have a hidden life—my 23 years in the Local Church—that I have pushed down.
To face it and deal with it? I’ve been unable to do so. I’ve busied myself with my daughter
and caring for my Mom, but now I am frightened. My mom is near the end of her life at 81
and my daughter is trying to free herself of my “ball and chain.” I’ve got to face my past, for
me to ever have a future. Jane, I don’t want anything from you except prayer – prayer –
prayer. I know I do need to “write.” I’ve known that for years if only to get the thoughts out of
I got your book. Already I know by the name it is “blessed.” Just the first few pages caused
me to weep, weep, weep.… Jane, I have just got to make it. I’ve got to get whole—for my
children and grandchildren. I don’t want to pass on any of “my demons” to them.
I love you dear sister. May God keep using you and John to heal and strengthen His broken
Her email also included this further word, which she wrote at a later time:
My thoughts: It seems like I’ve reached another crisis time. They come and visit me
unexpectedly, uninvited. Waves of emotions crash over me again and again—anger,
sorrow, regret … It seems like I’ll recover my thoughts to be positive, it’s not so bad, but
then another wave looms over me. Somehow, I feel like getting in my car… driving
aimlessly through town.. this will help clear my head, my thoughts. The tears keep
streaming down my face… driving, driving, tears flowing silently without effort. Another year
has come and gone and I’m still broken. Will I ever be whole again? My teenage daughter
was out until 2:00 a.m. She has been my life since moving here 5 years ago. She
graduated from high school in June. I adore and love her so. I love all my children—but I
regret that I couldn’t be whole for their sake. I’m having trouble again getting up, finding
purpose to my life. My daughter doesn’t need me any more. It’s painful, so much I hide my
lack of direction and purpose by occupying my time giving directions to others. Trying to
keep control over my daughter, simply because my own life is out of control. I have held 9
jobs since living here. Most jobs I get, even though I might not have the proper training. My
confidence level is always high because I have learned to pray before hand to get “filled”
with the confidence of God. But for some reason after being hired, as the weeks go by, I
begin to feel and experience such inadequacy. My inward thoughts of me being so
different—thoughts of “you’ll never make it” “you’re crazy” “you’re full of darkness” “you’re
unlovable” fill my head. Another wave crashing, a rip tide of self doubt and self loathing. I
also feel odd, out of place, out of sync. For my age and peer group I don’t see myself on
their emotional level. I’m different. I am sheltered, naïve as far as “worldly ways.” I am an
emotional dwarf. I don’t drink, dance, or date yet a the same time I don’t preach, pray, or
praise. I’m in limbo. I’m in a zone, the “twilight zone” perhaps? I’ve lost control. I’m looking
at the T.V. screen of my soul, there’s no picture, only snow-static. Lord, I need help, bring
me into focus. Let me see the “picture,” Lord. I don’t want to die alone and defeated, in the
midst of a blinding snow storm.
I cannot read this letter without tears coming. I have recently spent some time with this sister
and am glad to report that she is finding her way and seems to be doing much better than
when she wrote these letters.
I finished the book a couple of days ago, and really enjoyed it! A lot of the "steps of recovery"
that your family has experienced were echoed in my own. I will say that I never realized how
much my parents messed up at "being a good brother and good sister." All I saw was how
much my parents loved the Lord.
A while ago I heard Dr. Atkins say in an interview that when you have a poor diet, that for
awhile anyway, you must over correct to really fix the problem. I think that has been a good
description of the journey I've been through since leaving the LC.
I even got a degree in Interior Design! How fleshly is that. I had to pray through the guilt for
the first three years until the Lord showed me that he needs us out in the marketplace!
This was an important read for me. Lately God has lead me to sort through my theologies
and beliefs of him, especially the forgotten ones that are still there, and your book was a
great place for me to pray through that.
If you're ever in ______ give me a call! I'd love to see you guys again!
You guys are in my prayers!
Notes from a phone call from a former Local Church member I knew in the past:
I am about 2/3rds of the way through, and I wanted to call and tell you how much I am
enjoying it. When I opened it and read the first page, it was like a drink of fresh water. I just
sensed the Lord and how much prayer had taken place over what you wrote. I had been a
little worried…. You know, there is usually a taste or bite of bitterness when we talk about
the things there…but I’m 2/3rds through, and there is no taste at all of that. It’s just a story.
It's kind of like a diary sometimes. It’s a window into you, and makes me love you even
more than I already do. I see myself especially when you describe the torment you went
through with all the doubts, questions, and fears. I, too, thought I would lose my mind. I
went through a terrible period of depression and weeping, sometimes all night for weeks
and months, pleading with God to help me. It took time, but He has. I’m so much more
grounded now. I want to buy some more books to pass them to others, including our
pastor. I want to come see you soon!
I have received my copy, and begun reading it. There is simply no way for me to articulate
how grateful I am for your book. Thank you so much. This book has already begun to speak
to me, and release me from lingering and damaging concepts.
I have not read the book yet, but I just ordered it. I met with the Church (from 1979 - 1986) in
______. Although I discontinued fellowship with them in 1986, my life was very impacted by
those few years there. I am looking forward to reading your book. I wonder if I may know
you. Anyway, I know it's no accident that I found your website for the book. I had a life
changing experience when the Church instructed me that I could not fellowship with them
unless I received counsel from the Elders. It is a very long story, but I have to tell you that
experience though heartbreaking at the time, has been the catalyst to true clarity after all
these years. God truly does work in mysterious ways, but His ways are perfect.
Your sister in Christ
After finishing the book, this person wrote:
Jane, I finished the book. I loved every page........I had trouble putting it down and was up
late at night reading it. I think for me it has helped me take my skeletons out of the closet
and deal with a lot of things I had buried many years ago........or thought I had. This book is
going to help a lot of dear saints who are still trying to recover from the LC. You portrayed it
perfectly in a way that was very truthful yet without bitterness. I did not have the years in that
you did but I was there long enough to lose a husband and have my life turned upside
down for many years afterwards. I used to believe that all my bad life situations were
because I left the church. I think subconsciously I've believed that up till now, reading your
story and what the Lord has done in your life since leaving was very beautiful and I saw a
God of Love in your story. Thank you for this labor of love, I know it was inspired by our
Father. God bless you and your family.
Dear Jane and John,
I completed the book about a month ago. I haven't written because I was trying to put some
thoughts together. It was a real blessing to me. Most of the characters I could figure out. It
was a scary reminder of what happens when a group of people allow themselves to be
caught in the grips of a cultic spirit.
May this book get more distribution, far and wide; and may it result in more saints
willingness to come forth and speak the truth. I know that too many of them just want to put
it all behind them and move on. That's good, but we also need to look back for those dear
ones who are still caught in the system. The Local Church leadership thrives on our silence.
In the book you said at one point that the leading brothers offered John a speaking
opportunity at a conference, and that you thought they intended to divide you thusly. I have a
little different take on it. On a couple of occasions I heard Witness Lee talk about sisters
who were very happy or proud to see their husband become an elder. I think this is true,
and I think "the brothers" use this to manipulate saints. Perhaps those leading ones
thought that by offering John such a high profile "function," it would satiate you, resulting in
your quiet obedience. Just a thought.
May the Lord richly bless you and your family in this new year.
Dear Sister Jane,
When I read about the book "Thread of Gold" in the Bereans forum, I immediately wanted to
get a copy. To tell my story in a few sentences, I was loyal to the LC nearly a decade. I
married a girl who was raised in the "church life". Later, when I had "issues", it tore strongly
at our family. My wife's unwavering loyalty to the LC brought us into arguments and distrust
etc. when I started questioning things. Later, she had an experience of being damaged by
brothers very similar to what you described in the introduction of your book. From that time
on, she also had "issues", but no one to talk with. Ex-members, she was taught from early
on, were unreliable and their testimonies full of malice and poison. Current members
always assured her that her case was solitary and only because of her own fault.
Then, your book appeared on the stage. Finally, I could give something to her to indicate
that those things happen all across the globe and are in the system since 20-30 years ago
already. Additionally, the book is a tremendous eye-opener that a Christian life outside the
confines of the LC is possible. We had long talks about your book, it helped mend my
family and release my wife's bound soul tremendously. For this, I really thank God.
I do not know for certain whether you are aware of this, but there's a number of Christian
groups apart from the LC which would fit your description of the LC quite well also, and the
experiences these people have are often quite similar (JW, CfC, ICC, UBF, just to name the
ones I'm more familiar with), so I'm certain that your book could be a help to so many
tormented Christians out there.
Now, I have a question for you. When recommending this book to others, I've already been
asked whether it is available in ______ (another language) …. If you would desire to make
the book available to a wider scope, I would be delighted to translate it into ______ so that it
can reach people outside.
Your brother in Christ,
I would have to say you did a wonderful job in the book. Congratulations. Glory be to God. I
am a ex member of the Local Church, to be honest to this point I am not sure if I ever was
in, like you guys. I join this group back in early 80's, I came from ______ (another country)
to be train as a Elder but that never happened. Early 00 I became a leading one in the
church in ______. For a few years until I realize that was not my place in God's plan. Now I
am living in ______ and put everything behind me go forward. If you like to call me I will tell
more about my experience with this organization. But I would say that your book is a victory
over these false teaching. Good Job. My information is: ______ call or write to me if you
After we talked with him, he wrote:
Hi Sister Jane:
I was very glad to talk to you and your husband. Like I said you guys are very bold to expose
all the lies of this group call the local Church. We need more brothers and sisters to follow
your example and also be able to move on in life putting everything behind. I'm telling you is
hard to do it when you have that doctrine in your being. I'm still struggling because all the
emotional damage and spiritual in all the areas of my life. I gave myself to service and help
other saints in a sincere way leaving my family many times in the name of serving the
recovery. One of the practices that kill me was … when we were told to pray read the
message of Brother Lee. That caused the elders of the church to call me rebel and mark
me with a Big X. I never could be one with that. Well I do have more to share but I realize you
are very busy I will send you another e-mail and share one of most recent one about 2 yrs
Yours in Him
I do need to make a few statements about The Thread of Gold and Jane and John
Anderson. I have known this couple and their children for more than thirty years. My wife and
I were in the Witness Lee group in the same city for several years. My wife went on to be
with the Lord in 1991 so she is not here to give her testimony. However I have remarried
and Hilda my wife has read this wonderful book. Hilda was never in the Witness Lee group,
nevertheless she received much help from the book. Words of warning and the personal
testimony of Jane has touched her heart very much. My wife says, "Honey how could you
have stayed with such a group for so long?" I would that it had been that simple to have
realized what all was going on. Satan works in such a subtle way many times it takes the
Lord's people a time to realize what is going on. Then when you find out one doesn't want to
destroy innocent ones in leaving that group. I came in with Witness Lee group in 1972 and
left in 1989. I was never an elder, praise the Lord , but I did have much contact with the
elders because of my services. For many years I was under the same bondage which Jane
speaks of in her book. One can be deceived even about this because I felt that all this was
just serving Christ and the church. Of course many years later I did realize that it was just
serving man. It is so easy to be deceived, especially when people like Witness Lee with
some truth and light from the word. One is deceived with the good not the bad. Satan
doesn't appear with horns.
Jane did a very good work in writing The Gold Thread. It is the best of its kind that I have
ever read. In the last 50 years I have read many Christian books. I do believe that some can
be a great help to God's people. Of course none should take the place of the Bible, and this
is what happened in the Witness Lee group. They speak much about the Bible but many
times do not open the Bible.
I do believe The Gold Thread would be a help for any Christian to read in a prayerful way. It
is not a book where Jane is just criticizing people, but Jane does speak the truth, even as
the Spirit spoke in Rev. about the positive things of the different local churches, then He
said this I have against you.
The Lord Jesus does have an eternal purpose which is revealed in the Word. One of the
problems which the Witness Lee group has is the way which they minister this truth, forcing
the people or trying to force the people to believe what they are speaking. If they do not
accept every little word which Lee speaks, then you're not in the flow, so to speak. Well no
one wants to be left out so you try to do better.
My family and I received much damage in the 17 years while there. I had seven children.
Three of my children are still in the Witness Lee group. One I cannot maintain any kind of
relationship, spiritual or as a father. Some, praise the Lord, I can still have some fellowship
with. But the father-child relationship with all my children has suffered much damage. I do
trust the Lord that this damage well be repaired by the Lord Jesus. But I have been out of
the Witness Lee group for about 18 years, and there has been very little change with the
relationship with my children. Many times I have wept before the Lord about this matter. I do
serve the Lord in Mexico with my dear wife. The Lord has relieved some of the pain by giving
us some wonderful people. These are my family in Christ, but my heart still yearns for the
I do understand all the problems which our dear sister Jane has had and still is suffering
some. Praise the Lord for the wonderful husband, John , which the Lord has given Jane. I
know what it means to have one beside you who can suffer with you and pray with you. And
also all the wonderful children--I just praise the Lord for this wonderful family and the
privilege which I have had in knowing them through all these years. Although I have been
separated from them for some time, I appreciate them very much. One doesn't forget the
ones they love.
As a minister of God's word I do recommend The Gold Thread to all of God's people. If
you were in the Witness Lee group, you well receive much light and truth. If you were not in
this group, it well be a great help because many of the same things are going on in different
religious groups. Many of God's dear children are just serving man and do not realize it.
Many of the Lord's dear pastors, leaders, are trying to be the head like Witness Lee, and do
not realize it. There is only one Head, Christ. Many are taking God's authority and using it to
their advantage, and causing divisions. The Witness Lee group is the largest division
among God's people that I know of. May our Lord have mercy that none of us would follow
after this bad example.
The last 18 years the Lord has been discharging all the junk which I received during the
17 years that I was with the Witness Lee group. I really do not know if I will live long enough
for the Lord to clear out all my being of the junk. I am 78 years of age. I have asked the Lord
to give me 90 years that He will be able to complete His work in me and I that I might be
able to return as a normal Christian as revealed in His Word.
Bobby L. Watts
God's Purpose, the Cross, and Me
A True Story