The Thread of Gold
|Feedback: From India About the Living Stream Ministry
the author's permission. LSM refers to Living Stream Ministry. The text has not been edited.]
Dear sister and brother,
I am ______ from New Delhi, India. Our Church at Trivandrum, Kerala is taken over by
Witness Lee cult.
We are in the process of alerting the members of the church about the wicked ways this
group deceive people. I myself escaped because of God's grace. I am preparing a
pamphlet to send to more than 400 members of church about dangers in continuing with
this cult. A spiritual brother of mine gave me your book. Till now I thought only my family is
suffering isolation from people whom we loved. Now after reading your book in every page I
could see myself. Sister we could really feel the deep agony in our heart. We underwent
isolation only for last 2 years. Now God gave me a burden to warn the churches in India
about this group. They (Witness Lee cult disciples) claim that they raised 300 churches in
India. Fact is these churches existed much before they arrived. They made the elders
believe that Lords recovery started through Witness Lee.
Many church members are not aware about their teachings.
Sister I have a specifc request. Please (if possible) send me more details about their
wrong teachings. I think you have not included in your book about their claim that man
become GOD through regeneration and recovery. I feel it is a heretical teaching. Kindly go
through Harvest Publishers web site and affirmation and critique published by LSM. Is there
any specific reason for not explaining about it in your book. Please pray for my family. May
our LORD continue to grant us strength to abide in HIM only.
The only thing we can trust absolutely is in HIS LOVE, because HE will never leave us or
With lot of love,
Later he wrote:
… Myself and my wife are now busy preparing the booklet which I told you earlier. We are
very much encouraged by your book as well as your letters. My wife told me she
remembered her childhood days when she read about your childhood from your book. Only
by Holy Spirit's guidance you could write such a book. There was a flow from beginning to
end. I will send you a copy of the booklet as soon as it is completed. I will take suggestions
before I send to church members. Thanks for introducing us to other believers. I received
valuable support and encouragement from them. Continue to pray for my family so that we
will serve Him according to His will.
With regards and love,
Later, this brother sent me the booklet. It contains what he witnessed of the activities of the
Living Stream Ministry in India. It also contains much about the teachings of Witness Lee.
Because of its length, we are posting mainly the content of the booklet that is testimonial in
nature. To get a complete copy of the booklet, please email us at The Thread of Gold web
site. The pamphlet is written in the form of a letter:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings to all of you in the name of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. I write to you this
letter with deep burden in my heart. We live in a time when Satan is moving around like a
roaring lion to devour the faithful children of God. Many may not be aware that Satan also
come in the form of angel of light to deceive many faithful children of God. Anyone who trust
more on man, wealth or on miracles than God can be easily be deceived.
Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in his name, He gave the right to
become children of God..John 1:12
As His children our primary duty is to look unto Him for every need, be it spiritual or any
physical need. We are given the privilege to approach the throne of grace in time of need …
Brothers and Sisters we want to share with you some incidents that happened in our recent
past and how our merciful Lord rescued us from the clutches of Satan. We wish you that
will go through this letter carefully and ask the Lord (not man) for guidance.
"Dear friends if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive
from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him"
In the month of March 2005, one evening, I received a phone call. The caller identified
himself as a brother in Christ and informed that he wanted to meet me and talk about their
activities. He told me that he got my address from the elder of Trivandrum church. We fixed
a time and two brothers and two sisters came, all of them were from Taiwan. We had a nice
time of fellowship. All of us shared from word of God and sang some songs. Before
departing, they told they would like to have fellowship with us regularly. So we fixed
Wednesday’s evening for this purpose. Already we used to have a meeting every
Wednesday in my home. I asked the brothers and sisters from Taiwan to come on
Wednesdays because I wanted them to meet other brothers also who attend meeting
regularly. Normally meetings in my home were not in highly formal manner. It was almost
informal meetings. We used to come together, sing some songs, pray and all of us used to
share from word of God. It was a joyful time.
The following Wednesday, the brothers from Taiwan came. They introduced themselves.
They told that they were from Living Stream Ministries (LSM) and they are involved in selling
books published by LSM. We were not much concerned about their activities. Since they
told they were also believers, we welcomed them. Soon we started noticing some peculiar
behavior in all of them. We noticed that all of them telling ‘O LORD JESUS’ in a peculiar
ascent. For every sentence spoken by one of them, all others told Amen. They all used the
same version of Bible. They had a song book in which songs were unusually long. After
they sang a song, they read it stanza by stanza and others told amen.
After the meeting, one younger brother asked why they behaved like this. I told that brother
that it might be their way of fellowshipping. I have seen Nigerian fellowships. They move
their body while singing and express their joy openly. I too thought that it might be the
culture of Taiwanese to say amen after every sentence spoken by others. I thought in
Taiwan they might read song after they sing the song. Even though we found it strange, we
never took it seriously. I told the younger brothers that we must not feel bad if someone
worship Lord in a different way. Soon the Taiwan brothers brought another brother who was
an Indian. What surprised all of us is that he too was behaving in the same manner. Then
we thought his long acquaintance with the Taiwanese brothers made him behave like that.
Meanwhile the brothers from Taiwan gave us some books. They were all either written by
Watchman Nee or Witness Lee. I used to read these books during my free time. I found
many things written in these books unacceptable. I used to ask the brothers from LSM
about it. They told me, ’we’ will study about it latter or sometime they gave evasive replay.
Soon we noticed that they all repeat the same thing as if a tape recorder plays a short
message again and again. Each of them told the same thing with the same degree of
emotion. The same sentences and the same unfamiliar words like organic communion,
processed God etc were told. I felt they really don’t know what they are talking and they have
by hearted some things and are pouring it out. They quoted lot of verses from bible to
support what they say. We also noticed they omit some things which they should have told
in relation to the things they are talking about. I remember once they told we who are saved
are pre destined be saved and others who are not being saved are not predestined to
salvation. They took many verses to support their statement.
One young brother then told God want every one to be saved … 1Thim 2:3,4. He also
pointed out that hell is not created for man but for devil and his angels…Matt 25:41.I felt that
they heard for the first time these verses and they are trained in such away they are oriented
to think only in one direction.
We continued fellowshipping together. Soon they came with some photocopies of some
portions of Witness Lee’s writings and gave each one of us a copy. They asked each one to
read a sentence. Then every one started telling amen. First, I didn’t take it seriously. I
thought about many bible study sessions where we give photocopy of notes or main points.
Soon it became a regular affair. Now our meetings started with 15 to 20-stanza hymn from
a hymnbook that LSM brothers carried, that was dull and had confusing words. After
singing, we started reading the stanzas one by one and they all together told amen. Then
we read Witness Lees Book photocopy and said amen for every sentence.
Soon, I sensed some trouble. Others in the meeting also sensed trouble in the way we are
We asked the brothers from LSM why we should read only Witness Lees writings, why not
other some other Christian authors books? We told them we need to listen the voice of
Lord that lead us to a holy living rather than study something someone wrote long ago. We
asked them to study Witness Lees writings privately and not in general meetings. We
encouraged them to share from Bible what they learned during daily meditation. To my
great surprise one brother from LSM told me that Witness Lees writing contain all that is
spiritually required for a man. We were surprised because according to us Bible contain all
that is required for a man spiritually. I felt undue importance is given to Witness Lee and
Christ is pushed to background. This was done in a manner very difficult to detect.
We decided to pray to God to reveal the true intensions of people from LSM. We were fully
convinced that bible is all-sufficient for us, and as His children, He will speak to us if we are
sincere in seeking His face. We felt there is no need for depending on another book for
learning bible. We felt it is better to trust in the Lord than man.
Meanwhile I received a call from Dr. Chacko Thomas, elder of Quilon church. He asked me
to be very careful about people from LSM and informed that church at Trivandrum is
completely under Witness Lee group. In the month of July 2005 I happened to visit
Trivandrum. I wanted to go and meet believers at Trivandrum. I was very much eager to
know its well being. My relation with Trivandrum Church started from 1992.Since then when
ever I visit Trivandrum I used to attend the fellowship meetings there. Brothers and Sisters
there were very good to me. They used to pray for us regularly and were like family
members. They were with us during happy times as well as during sorrow times. The elder
of Trivandrum church supported us in many ways. He used to encourage us spiritually. My
marriage was conducted at Trivandrum church. We were all one in spirit and all of them
loved each other. However, this time when I visited Trivandrum church I found situation
entirely different. What I saw was a hall full of people (nearly 400) singing the same long
songs of LSM that is translated in to Malayalam. There was total disorder. When one
person says something, all others were shouting amen. Before anyone spoke, he shouted
"O Lord Jesus" many times. Then he was trying to read Witness Lees book potions and all
together shouted amen. When amen sounds reduced one of the elder stood up and
encouraged every one to tell amen. After they sang a song, they read it to each other to fulfill
the scripture…Eph5:19. They gave two minutes time for those who have prepared to speak.
Such people stood in a line. Each one in the line came near the mike and shouted "O Lord
Jesus" few times and then started reading from Witness Lees books and added his own
few words. Since only 2 minutes were given, they talked very fast. A lady who was sitting
near the electronic organ gave a bell sound at which the speaker stopped his speech and
again shouted "O Lord Jesus" before leaving. The next one in the line then took over the
mike and repeated the same. Since all were sharing from the same portion, all of them
were speaking almost the same thing. I wonder whether they still do it. At last, one "serious
brother" came and spoke for almost half an hour and the show ended. I was very eager to
meet the elders of church. I asked one of them what is this you are doing. I was surprised
to hear the reply. He told "What can I do. They want the things to be done in this way." I tried
to reason with him but he told me to talk with other elders.
I went to another elder he told me "What can I alone do" I went to another elder. He told me
they are already recovered and asked me to jump into their boat before it is too late for me.
Meanwhile I noticed all songbooks are removed and replaced with Malayalam translation of
hymnbooks of LSM. I asked why the song books are removed, the replay was strange. He
told me those songs are not meaningful. The surprising thing is that old song book contain
songs written by the wife of the same elder who told this. At that time when the song were
written he told us Holy spirit gave those songs. They even released a cassette that contains
songs given by Holy Spirit. After singing the songs for many years and telling that they are
Spirit given songs now Spirit tells them that they are meaningless. I wonder how they could
even think that Spirit will change the words. I sensed that the spirit that is now working there
is different from that was working earlier.
I tried to reason with the elder but he was behaving as if he is the disciple of Witness Lee
rather than disciple of Christ. Always people trained by LSM moved with the elders of the
church constantly watching their activities. Now I realized that Trivandrum church has been
taken over by Witness lee group as Dr Chako Thomas told me.
After I came back to Delhi I called the LSM brothers who were fellowshipping with us and
had a lengthy discussion within them. I found there is a doctrine behind every action of
theirs like calling on the name of the lord, saying amen, reading song to each other etc. I
found these LSM trained people are brainwashed to believe in Witness Lees words, to
speak like parrots repeating what they read from Witness Lees writings, and not to think
anything beyond. His interpretation of Bible was final for them. When I asked can’t we read
any other translation of Bible other than recovery version, the answer which I got was "Are
you an expert in Greek and Hebrews to decide which translation of bible is correct?"
They told us they are overcommers and recovery of church started with Witness Lee. They
gave evasive answers for many questions. I also came to know they "raised" up 300
churches all over India. On enquiry, we came to know they are all existing churches taken
over by LSM. Finally sensing trouble that they can cause on a long run to our spiritual life,
we asked them to stop coming if they want to continue with the teaching of Witness Lee.
Thus ended our 7-month association with LSM group.
This group’s very cleaver in fooling others. If you ask them regarding their activities they can
give many type of replay. They may tell they are businessmen doing business of LSM a
publishing house, They can say they are sales man selling books of Watchman Nee and
Witness Lee, They can say they are propagating Lords recovery, They can say they are
trainees and so on. However, basically they are disciples of Witness Lee. As a cover-up,
they use Watchman Nee’s name also. They catch others sympathy by telling about
Watchman Nee, his suffering in communist China and his death in Jail etc
Dear Brothers and Sisters we spend much time to study about this group. What we
understand is this is a very dangerous CULT. By God’s grace, we came in touch with many
brothers and sisters who have left Local church movement (of this group). From the
information which we have collected and based on our own study what we found, I want to
share with you. The contents of this personal letter is purely out of concern for believers
who have fallen into the trap of Witness Lees followers. I wish you will read this personal
letter to you carefully and ask Lord for guidance (not Man). It is something that concerns our
spiritual life and we should not take it lightly.
… During one of our meetings one person told, God need our help in establishing His
Kingdom. We expressed our disapproval for that statement. What came to my mind was
God could raise people from stones if he wants. Immediately they changed the topic. Their
strategy is first they will talk about Gods needs, and then talk about importance of man, then
how man becomes God. This is done in such a way they do not try to offend anyone
My sincere request to you is if you do not approve this teaching then stand up and tell the
elders about it and ask them if they approve it. Do not allow them to go away by giving silly
answers like "we will study about this later" or " we don’t know" or "let those who want to
believe do so". We need to have a clear stand.I remember Trivandrum church elder used to
say "we need to tell people about poison as poison and need not add sugarcoated words."
I do not know whether the elders hold the same standards now also.
Witness Lees many revelations were actually based on the teaching he got from his
mother. His mother taught him those who eat fish smells like fish. Throughout his life, he
argued based on this type of teaching. He wrote "What we eat we become and we express"
Then he went on giving the fish example….(Witness Lee-Basic revelations in scripture).
Another time he told Americans smell milk because they consume lot of milk.(living 6) This
type of thinking ultimately led to the argument that those having the nature of God are God.
Dear brothers I consume fish but till now those who were moving closely with me never told
me that fish smell is coming from my body, nor I think I got the nature of fish.(of course fish
smell may come if you spill some on your body and do not clean properly).Most of Witness
lees strange revelations are baseless. Even a small child will not say by drinking milk
smell of milk come from body.
… For many years, I was receiving Emails from the Trivandrum local church. As soon as
Witness Lee disciples took over, it stopped coming. I wonder how easily they convinced the
elders to stop sending the Emails. In the last Email I received, it was written to receive
Emails from Witness Lee group (emanna). Witness Lee assures that all about truth is
covered in his publications. Look at what scripture says
"The man who thinks he knows something
does not yet know as he ought to know" 1Cor8:2
The most wise and knowledgeable believer realizes that his knowledge is limited. He can
never claim that nearly no item of life and light has been left untouched in his writings
Secondly, Witness Lee assures his disciples that there will be a ‘major revelation’ in every
LSM publications. No wonder this assurance made him write later Man become God. I am
sure Satan use people who depend on their self-confidence for his advantage.
Witness Lee wrote many books, which contain many unscriptural things. He got everything
as " major revelations".
… One elder of local church (of Witness Lee brand) asked me to "jump into their boat." I
asked why only into your boat. He told Lord is coming soon, they will be taken up, and
others will be left behind to suffer. The same elder told me that since the same spirit lives
in all the overcommers throughout the world, there must be uniformity in what they
meditate. So they choose writings of Witness Lee. Then I asked why only Witness Lee. The
answer was "Every thing we require is already in these writings." In their training programs
(2 Yrs, 1Yrs…. down to one month) these thoughts are sown into the minds of those who
attend them. These so called "trained brothers" propagate these ideas to others. They have
their own versions of hierarchical order (like pope, cardinal, bishop etc). Only difference is
there are no outward signs like religious dress code and other visible signs. They have
brothers, serious brothers, trained brothers, Lords deputies etc.
Brothers and sisters if you are already into such a trap, free yourself. First step I
recommend is a sincere prayer to God to show the true path, which you must take in your
spiritual journey. Second step is to read the word of God without Witness Lee notes. If you
can manage few versions of Bible (NIV, KJV, LivingBible etc) then compare the verses in
various versions. Meditate on these verses and pray for Lords guidance. It is better to trust
in the Lord rather than in the man. It is better to receive from God rather than from man.
We are children of God; we have the great privilege to approach His throne of grace in times
of need (Heb4: 16). He is our father. A good father will not have any problem in speaking to
his children if the children come to Him with true burden. If at point in time God planned to
recover the church through one or two individuals only then it would have been revealed in
bible somewhere. Instead, we only find in scriptures warning that many will come in Jesus
name and try to deceive us. After centuries of various deceiving techniques, did Satan
changed his strategy by promising believers that every "overcommers" will become God.
We need to look with some amount of doubt all those who claim as God’s only chosen
vessel or those who claim as God’s only spokesman. We can be fooled. We may realize it
only very late and by that time enough damage would have been done. Bereans were
considered to be better than Thessalonians, because they checked from scriptures what
Paul preached is correct or not (Act 17:11 )
I suppose there were no foot notes in scriptures during those days. Later when Paul wrote
to Thessalonians he asked them to TEST EVERYTHING. HOLD ON TO THE GOOD
(1Thes5: 21). Have you tested the "new revelations" that Witness Lee got in the light of
word of God or are you merely listening to some one just because you consider him to
be a man of God and infallible?
… There are two types of local churches. They are Local church and local church (Witness
Lee Brand). When one of the brother from LSM who underwent 2 years training in Taiwan
told me local church concept is a new revelation that Watchman Nee and Witness Lee got
from God, I was surprised. I asked them to explain further. He told me that
"Lord’s recovery started from Watchmen Nee and continued through Witness Lee and now
it is continuing through LSM.The instrument for Lord’s recovery is local church which came
as a revelation to WatchmanNee and Witness Lee. Local church members are the
overcommers and they represent Philadelphian churches mentioned in Revelation chapter
I was astonished because since I came to the Lord in 1989, after reading The Bible, I got
the idea that best way for the believers to gather together is as a local church. The brother
that baptized me, advised to gather as local church. For us local church is gathering of
believers in an area. We call the church in a particular locality by the name of that locality.
Therefore, after being baptized I was part of Shoranur church. I was living in Shoranur town
in Palgat district at that time. Later we moved to Bangalore and we gathered with believers
in Bangalore. None of these Local churches had any other branches. As we belonged to
Trivandrum we were part of Trivandrum Church, whenever we were in Trivandrum. These
Local churches were in existence since 1992. During these days we never heard about
Watchman Nee or about Witness Lee. There were hundreds of local churches were
believers in a particular locality gathered together and were known by the name of that
locality through out Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu states. These local churches known
after the name of that locality were based on Paul’s letters, which were addressed to
churches known by the name of the locality. Church elders thought churches must be
known by the name of the locality rather than by the name of a denomination or
organization. This was not based on revelation or discovery by Watchman Nee or Witness
Lee. Some Local churches I know personally are Trivadrum church, Quilon church,
Bangalore church. Local churches cooperated among themselves when there were
marriage service or funeral service or some special occasions. Occationally they had
common meetings so that members could come to know each other and had fellowship
together. This was happening in hundreds of places in south India (and may also be in
North India). Most of these local churches have the following things common
1 Church known by the name of the locality
2 Those who received Lord Jesus, as savior became the members. Birth in Christian family
was not accepted as a ground for membership
3 They insisted on talking baptism after receiving the Lord
4 They (most of them) never celebrated festivals like Christmas, Easter etc as
denominational churches do
Galatians 2:4 says, " This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our
ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves"
Here Paul, talks about circumcision group who insisted on implementing Jewish practices
in church and thereby robe believers of their freedom they have in Christ Jesus.
The same thing happened in Local churches. LSM people who did not get many followers
in India suddenly changed tactics. They slowly visited elders of local churches. Some weak
elders who are swayed away by worldly things (human relationship, desire to be identified
with a larger sect, etc) fell into the trap of LSM agents. They had separate bible studies with
them were they are taught about the "revelations" which Witness Lee got and convinced
them that local church concept of Witness Lee is the ultimate desire of the Lord. These
weak elders found so many similarities with Witness Lees concept. Naming the church
after the name of locality, baptism after receiving the Lord, avoiding all celebrations like
Christmas and Easter etc are some of the things they found common.
Thus, these elders jumped to the conclusion that they found someone similar to them.
They thought now onwards they would have access to have fellowship with churches
throughout the world. They were convinced that there are more than 3000 churches
throughout the world that are fellowshipping with LSM. An elder of Trivandrum church told
"Now onwards when people from Trivandrum church go any were in the world, they will get
fellowship. We found like-minded church. They do not celebrate festivals just like us. They
do not consider church as an organization just like us. They name the church just like us
and they too will not celiberate festivals."
Unfortunately, these elders saw only some outward similarities. They failed to see the
inner spiritual matters that are more important. Elders convinced the "normal believers"
that they discovered the "True Church." One elder told me "We were in inside egg. Now
we have come out and see the things more clearly." What I understand is many truly
local churches have become local church (Witness Lee brand). One elder who claimed
to be in the local church (Witness Lee brand) told me proudly that they are going to
"raise" up more than 300 churches in India. On enquiry I came to know, most of these
churches were already in existence since many years. One very prominent Elder was
on a "trip" from one end of Kerala state to the other end meeting the elders of local
churches to convince them to accept the newfound philosophy. Once elders are taken
into confidence, they teach from selected verses of 1Timothy and 2 Timothy warning them
not to listen or join with those who are not in one accord. Deep within if you carefully watch,
for them one accord is one with Witness Lee and his Teaching and not Holy Spirit and
teachings of Jesus.
One church that has not fallen into the hands of LSM was Quilon church. People from LSM
tried to influence the elder of the Quilon church, but he refused to accept them. This elder
was branded as a fallen brother. I was present in the church when he was called as fallen
brother by one of the Trivandrum church elder (at a meeting attended by nearly 400 people.)
He quoted from Heb 6:4-6 to condemn the Quilon church elder who have not fallen in line
with LSM. I happened to meet the elder of the Quilon church number of times and also had
telephonic conversation with him number of times. He was suffering from lung cancer.
Even during the last days of his earthly life, he grieved much about the condition of local
churches in Trivandrum and adjoining areas. He asked me to pray, go, meet the elders of
churches, and tell them about the dangers of fellowshipping with LSM. I tried to contact the
elders. One elder told me "what can I do alone?" Another one told me "you talk with others
(other elders), they wont listen to me" Another prominent elder bombarded with the new
found doctrines and was not ready to listen to what I have to say. Some of the Elders
listened silently as if they don’t have the ability to take decisions.
Now after many prayers, I felt I must write to the brothers and sisters personally. The desire
to see the churches delivered from the clutches of LSM and their agents made me write this
letter to you. I wish once again church will regain its independent character and will move
ahead fulfilling Lords plan and purpose. It all depends on the sincerity of brothers and
sisters in church. If your local church is under LSM, you watch for yourself there will be at
least one LSM-trained person in your church who will monitor all activities of elders and
church members. They generally give the concluding main message. Their message will
be based on Witness Lee books only. What a pity after running a good race so far, the
name of Witness Lee almost replaced Lord Jesus himself. I remember when I was
talking to one of the Elder, the LSM agent was constantly watching our discussion and the
elder was often looking towards him before answering to my questions. I felt the LSM
person spiritually held the elder captive. This agent always accompanies the elder.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Gal 5:1)
I have one pure and sincere intension in writing you this letter. My intension is not to hurt
anyone or degrade any one. I wish Satan would not deceive you. From the teaching
regarding unity in appearance, thinking etc to becoming holy God, there is a continuous
degradation in spiritual standards. What I wish as a fellow believer is , you please do not
conform to the standards of LSM..As we are individually accountable to God please follow
the following steps
1. Pray earnestly for guidance regarding your spiritual life. Ask Lord which way you should
2. Read Bible without footnotes and meditate on the verses.
3. Share with others what the Lord is speaking to you
4. In church, do not read Witness Lees books or meditate on his writings. Have the courage
to stand up in church and tell what the lord is speaking to you through bible.
5. Encourage fellow believers to look unto God. Never try to equate in any way with God. If
anyone insist on proclaiming, "we are God" or "we become God" or anything similar, do not
join with them. Openly proclaim it is not scriptural.
6. Do not say amen to every statement made by others and share their guilt. Evaluate what
others are saying like Bereans before agreeing on it. Satan’s strategy is to make you
immediately say amen, so that with mouth you proclaim you approve the unscriptural things
what others said.
7. Ask lord for guidance regarding your journey ahead. Pray continually.
We are called to worship God with reverence and awe. Our God is a consuming fire (Heb
We have this confidence " Therefore he (Jesus) is able to save completely those who
come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them" Heb7: 25
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are
being tempted. Heb2: 18
May our dear Lord bless you.
God's Purpose, the Cross, and Me
A True Story