This post titled Normal Child Growth & Development was “Demonic” Said the Shepherds in JRS The Walk is a subsection of No Non-cents Nanna blogs by author Malika Bourne. (Online author’s legal pen name.)
From the years 1972 to 1983, as a member of The Church of the Living Word cult, I offered my expertise in childcare. I was seeing, unmet developmental goals, safety issues in the nurseries, and abuse in the “Kingdom Schools” my children attended instead of my preference for Head Start and public school.
But, that was a brick wall with my husband due to the influence of leadership in “Kingdom Businesses”. I had been groomed to be a “doily on the head” “help-meet” wife of a pastor’s inept son.
Red Flags plagued my educated brain and then were dismissed by the ‘gas light’ of ‘prophetic enablers’.
Every time I spoke up I was figuratively slapped in the face with, “That is demonic.”
Check out this related post written by a guest survivor…
I regret not exclaiming, “Screw you all”.
If I had done what my mothering instincts told me, I would not have had this opportunity to spill the beans on exactly what this toxic cult did to destroy normal family relationships during the critical formative years of the infants, children, and youth that were born into this toxic culture.
This post will only be an introduction to a more in-depth post to follow on my personal reasons for leaving the cult and how my nursing expertise and this No Non-cents Nanna blog are connected. Exposing and tearing down any toxic organization is a sticky emotional web of deceit that did not just happen.
The manipulation was all planned by the masterminds including a Black Widow.
In the case of the Church of the Living Word founded by John Robert Stevens this web of deceit DBA The Church of the Living Word. The founder was John Robert Stevens in South Gate, California in 1951. Not to forget the roots of the mother church in Washington, Iowa pastored by John’s father, William J Stevens since the 1930s with WJ’s sons-in-law as assistant pastors or missionaries. allowed his son to take over the mother church with non-Christian practices.
Nepotism at its finest allowed more tangled webs to be spun all over the U. S. and beyond. While members’ families were pulled apart and placed under mentors with little or no parenting skills the Stevns clan and extended family were “thick as thieves”. Doesn’t that old cliche fit so well?
It has been a painful journey to be able to get to the point where I can spit out the ugly truth in writing and then publish my words for public scrutiny as well as the possibility of endangering myself and my family from former cult leaders trying to stay out of prison related to trafficking and abuse inflicted on the innocent youth.
It seems to me this delusional extended family has to protect each other to prevent incriminating themselves. I cannot read minds and their god is not telling me what they were thinking.
But, after adding to my required psychology courses and my own independent studies on narcissism, my best guess is that the den of thieves feels justified in their actions to blame “the people for not submitting good enough to the Queen and King Apostles’ words. “The stupid people” allowed SATAN to sneak in to attack leadership while they were doing whatever they did not want the servants to know about.
Sidetrack to ABOUT ME…
Back in the 1970s and early 1980s,
I tried in vain to protect all of the children including my own.
Most photographs from the ’50s show me lovingly holding a baby doll.
From early childhood, I did not go anywhere without a doll.
I have always been obsessed with mothering little ones.
I am a natural nurturer.
So, yes, I cared about my children’s peers, too.
I was passionate about contributing my expertise. After all, the “word over my life” when I was in High School was to “not get pregnant before I finished my education”.
So the Bro’ forced me to break up with the love of my life since Kindergarten. My childhood sweetheart was also a long-time member of the Christian Tabernacle who went with me to Saturday night Bless-ins.
Little did I realize that one pastor had plans for me to marry his son and I needed to be a virgin for his boy. Doesn’t that sound like a passage out of a psycho-thriller novel?
I confess that ‘I love children’.
By a twisted definition, do you know what defines me, kindergarten teachers and Pediatricians to be?
Sorry, this is a sick example of what exactly leadership in religious tracking organizations does to cover up for their ‘under grace” justifications. They justify in their heads or over the pulpit – They “lie by omission” of the words ‘sexual perversion’.
Here is the more current and psychiatric/ legal definition of pedophilia.
WARNING! Blunt and triggering adult concepts.
At the time who could fathom that my hometown church, Christian Tabernacle under William Stevens and F. Bickhart, and the vision of our church’s own campgrounds had gone to “the dark side” of religion?
- The teens were groomed to think FREEDOM.
- Good Christians dreamed of a serene place to worship God Almighty.
- The adults were groomed to plan for their future as they aged with the promise of a “retirement home”.
- Hardworking native Iowans loved the idea of everyone putting their back to the plow for a good crop year.
And how did that work out?
In hind site JRS and his “boys” were dreaming of what boils down to the Trafficking of Minors for tax-exempt labor and free pick of the crop of fresh young things while amassing a small fortune from the donations of volunteers.
I chose my distasteful words carefully. My peer-age young women and our children were not seen as human beings seeking a high spiritual power to serve, but as objects to be used.
Every one of us was groomed – we were wooed and seduced with promises he never intended to keep. JRS conned us into selling our souls to an invisible “dark side” that only wanted a “product to use” at a location where no neighbors would complain about the notice from wild worship in the night.
I had no experience with how to stop a cult in its ascension. I had no clue was trafficking was. I doubt most good Christians did either.
In my twenties, I barely had the experience of being an adult. But, I feel shame and guilt for not doing enough when my sound education pointed to the fact that something was off. I am still alarmed that “nobody seemed to care”.
- My disagreement with child-rearing practices promoted in The Walk; negligence in the nurseries of the church groups; misinformation among young mothers in the church groups: beatings in the Kingdom schools; and JRS’ own words (“rosey bottoms) were among my top reasons for “escaping The Church of the Living Word cult.
- In my professional opinion, the chronic abuse and neglect of the Church of the Living Word leadership aka designated relationship have not been fully explored nor exposed fully enough, so far. This goes much deeper, I fear. We can choose to ignore the harm done so far in any religious cult or we can choose to fight like hell to expose it so much that the proper laws are made worldwide to stop this kind of civil and criminal acts against humanity to protect the children of our future.
- My plan is to not lay a guilt trip on parents who “were obedient to the Word”. I lay responsibility on the top of the pyramid scheme who profited off of trafficking. Your individual responsibility will need to be explored with your own private therapist.
Will you join me in this fight against persons in trusted positions enslaving and trafficking vulnerable members?
Yes, I know our fantasies are hard to give up.
JRS painted word pictures of the kingdom of his god that was to come if only we put in enough effort to demand his god or storm the kingdom and take it by force.
Dear ones, that vision was a pipe dream promoted by an alcoholic with psychological issues.
We all fell into his delusions. We are “children of an alcoholic or a drug abuser. Yes, the patterns are very similar.
Disclaimer: This post is intended to expose. This is not intended as legal advice. Nor is this post intended to take the place of personal or group therapy with a licensed therapist. The author is accountable for my own actions and interpretations which may differ from your experience.
Feel free to comment. You must sign in to leave a moderated comment. Please note that for survivors of the Chuch of the Living Word, there is an option for a private, closed discussion.
Yes, so many horror stories have been shared without consequences for the shepherds whom the members submitted to.
I wish that I could have stopped it all a long time ago. I did try. Since I cannot turn back the clock, I’m going to present the facts that TLW, and CLW leadership at the top chose to pooh-pooh as “sins of witch-craft” “bitterness, “, “of the devil,” or “demonic, straight from the pits of Hell.”
Please listen to my words and consider this: Any time a leader uses those words on you, use your critical thinking skills to grasp that you are being manipulated for their own selfish sick needs.
In my upcoming, unwritten posts, I will break down the normal elements of Child Growth and Development compared to “Kingdom” directives.
- I will touch on and give links to and or quote from Child Labor Laws and OSHA safety guideline and more…
I feel as if this is going to be an arduous task from my viewpoint as a retired nurse. However, survivors who were born in the Wlak, deserve to know that I, for one, did speak up and reported abuse and neglect in general. I failed to protect the vulnerable that needed protecting – but WHY?
The simple answer is that the laws needed writing and law enforcement needed better training.
In the late 1970s, I spoke directly with John Robert Stevens in the Upper Room at Shiloh in Kalona, Iowa about the awkward professional positions I was thrust into with my nursing supervisor, the doctors I worked with, and my contacts with public health in Washington County and Johnson County in Iowa over reportable “mishaps” that had occurred on campus at Shiloh.
My co-workers/ supervisors took me aside to ask, “What is going on out there at Shiloh? We know that you are a member of the Christian Tabernacle.”
Were Designated Relationships, volunteers, and the children’s supervisors ever trained and certified according to the state’s mandates?
From my education and experience, it is my opinion that all of those people designated to oversee the cult’s children should have been required to have some basic certification. But did they?
Can some from from the Chruch of the Living Word Cult please help me answer this question in the comment section or PM me?
This partial block quote is included in this post for education/ information purposes only. Please read and refer to the original post by clicking the link provided.
Has the child sustained a serious physical injury, or is the child at imminent danger of harm of sustaining a serious physical injury?
Did the person legally responsible:
- Inflict the injury?
- Allow the injury to be inflicted?
- Create an imminent danger of the injury?
- Allow an imminent danger of the injury to be created?
Has the person legally responsible
- Had sexual contact with the child?
- Allowed sexual contact to occur?
- Used a child in a sexual performance?
- Allowed a child to engage in prostitution?
- Has the child been harmed or impaired or is the child at imminent danger of harm or impairment?
- Has the person legally responsible failed to provide a minimal degree of care under the circumstances in question?
- Did that failure cause harm or impairment to the child, or create an imminent danger of harm or impairment?
Basically, if you knew a child was being abused you have a legal responsibility to report to the proper authorities. Were you ever told that?
Disclaimer: I will do everything I can to uphold my legal responsibilities to protect the privacy of persons who had been patients of mine both directly and indirectly involved under the same umbrella of my former employment. I am bound by HIPPA and the oath I took when I graduated as an RN.
I allege in good faith and from direct interaction that persons in a trusted leadership capacity, and who should have known better, often violated the confidence of church members. Using private communications, decisions were made to alter the life course for an unknown number of devoted followers. I cannot discuss anyone else’s statements made on private forums.
However, I will disclose anecdotes from my personal experience without revealing so many details that might identify specific persons to themselves or close relationships within the cult settings and not in a medical facility setting or as part of a Public Health communication that was part of my employment.
As a doctrine of some faiths, clergy must maintain the confidentiality of pastoral communications.
This is sometimes referred to as “clergy-penitent privilege,” where “penitent” refers to the person
consulting the clergy.
- Mandatory reporting statutes in some States specify the circumstances
under which a communication is “privileged” or allowed to remain confidential.
- Privileged communications may be exempt from the requirement to report suspected abuse or neglect.
- The privilege of maintaining this confidentiality under State law must be provided by statute. Most States
do provide the privilege, typically in rules of evidence or civil procedure.
- If the issue of privilege is not addressed in the reporting laws, it does not mean that privilege is not granted; it may be granted
in other parts of State statutes.
- This privilege, however, is not absolute. While clergy-penitent privilege is frequently recognized
within the reporting laws, it is typically interpreted narrowly in the context of child abuse or neglect.
…Many States and territories include Christian Science practitioners or religious healers among professionals who are mandated to report suspected child maltreatment. In most instances, they appear to be regarded as a type of health-care provider.
- I repeat that I am not a lawyer.
- I am a retired RN who had the privilege to work with 100s of children and their parents in an employment setting.
I have been a member of a number of Christian denominations including The Church of the Living Word founded by John Robert Stevens.
With all that said, I am aware that many churches practice the laying on of hands to pray for healing and discernment. I am also acutely aware of the fact that some denominations “do not believe in doctors”. The preacher will adamantly deny a parishioner the freedom to seek out medical care. I will address my personal conclusions and allegations in another post. HINT: some preachers do not want to lose their power and control by allowing the sheep to introduce outsiders who could legally step in.
Please do not take my word for it. But, give my thought some consideration and critical thinking in your own situation.
Side note: The leadership of the Church of the Living Word found by JRS did not respect confidentiality yet they twisted it to their own advantage. I won’t get into any examples but refer you to other discussion groups and videos.
- I alleged that Leadership may have also practiced medicine without a license to some degree in unspecific cases See the quote below…or give medical advice at times when they should have said, “Go to the doctor. Do you need a ride to the ER?”
- They refused their duty as Mandatory Reporters to protect the young, innocent, and vulnerable. This varies from state to state. The laws have been updated over the years. Regardless of the laws that or did not exist, pastors had a moral and ethical duty to protect their sheep that they were skimming money to be a pastor.
- Yet, they had lawyers on staff who apparently were covering the asses but had no expertise in child rearing or pediatrics. Those “on-staff ” legal advisors have so much explaining to do over their moral and ethical complicity in particular in the area of child neglect and abuse.
Be aware that I have not stated any names. other than commonly known names of leadership.
If the shoe fits wear it. I will approach this post from the standpoint of a professional Registered Nurse. Also, know that there were RN volunteers “on-staff” at Shiloh that I have as yet to hear speak up.
Yes, I have some bitterness over this as far as so many innocent and vulnerable victims need justice. Without accountability, these crimes will continue among the many other religions in name-only cults.
The Conflict Began
I had legitimate education in working with children as an early childhood educator and as an RN working in multiple capacities where I had confidential interactions with Public Health and the Department of Social Services. I was a trained Mandated Reporter by law. (I am not a lawyer. I was an RN who took more classes than was required for my RN license to practice in several states. These legal classes that I took were specifically designed for medical professionals – not lawyers. Not church pastors. Not lawyers.)
The “Bro”, the Shepherds, and The Cult leadership did not have the expertise that I did. I was supposed to respect their every word as if “God” himself spoke directly through them. But there was no mutual respect for my legally sound nursing practice as far as making on-course corrections in the care of our dear little ones.
- Child Growth & Development and Behavior Management were the professional expertise of this author and the premise of blog writing under the handle of No Non-cents Nanna since 2011. I started out with a very narrow focus on early childhood education for babysitters.
- Under the surface of those simple blogs published under my fictional novel pen name, Malika Bourne, privately, I was in emotional turmoil over the leadership decision and silencing tactics of my personal opposition to the toxic cult called a variety of names such as The Church of the Living Work aka The Walk or Living Word Fellowship found by John Robert Stevens. There was a time when I was ashamed to have even been in a cult.
Personally, I am a Washington, Iowa girl who had been set out to several different “bodies”. This almost automatically made me a Sunday-Go-to-Meeting-Christian and all-around Goody-2-shoes servant of the Lord.
I left the cult from the Church of His Holy Presence in Anaheim around 1983 prior to the death of the self-proclaimed “apostle”, John Robert Stevens. Because of family and coming from a small county seat in Iowa, my connections were never completely severed.
And because I saw so many actions that were contrary to commonly accepted by educated childcare practitioners I wanted to scream, “You are unsafe to be around children. This is detrimental to these children’s safety, well-being, and future!” But, I did not scream. I simply fell to pieces with all the gaslighting by leadership.
The responses are typical of this cult and may be triggering.
Jezebel, Liar, bitter, possessed, witchcraft, you bitch, crazy whore, you’re just like your mother, this is war far from the pit…
Before I wrap this up and tie it with a bow…
This cult mess is so disjointed. I don’t know where to put these examples of “fake pearls of wisdom” other than here.
I going to list some concerns of mine that were dismissed by the Bro as my bad spirit.
- Tubes of toothpaste were handed to pre-k kids to snack on.
- Orange soda and Kool-Aid is cheaper than formula and baby like it.
- The Holy Spirit showed how to have a neat home. Put the cuttler in paper bags then stash in the cupboards or oven.
- Drop your kids off at a fellow member’s front door so you can work on your kingdom marriage.
- Sell your kid’s WIC products at a bargain price for booze or drug money.
- Porn in the bathroom is a right of passage. Never mind if you have small children using the same facilities.
- Lay hands on your car and pray it takes you into the Kingdom in 1979. Then you don’t need to spend money on changing the oil or fixing leaks. Praying for the car should be safe for your kingdom wife and children to ride in.
- Take your kids to violent intercession so they can learn to worship and sing battle songs of the kingdom.
- Leave your kids in a nursery that does not pass Public Health guidelines for safety and infection control.
- Small children are rebellious Demon Possessed if they explore their environment after you told the ‘NO’.
- Kingdom children should be passive, not cry, and always obedient – if not beat the hell out of them.
- Ages and Stages of Child Growth and Development are Deomincally Inspired – not of the Kingdom
What do you think?
...to be continued…
Key Words to be explored.
The Church of the Living Work, The Walk or Living Word Fellowship founded by John Robert Stevens, Shiloh at Kalona Iowa, child abuse, mandatory reporters, discipline, child-rearing practices, The Walk; negligence in the nurseries of the church groups; misinformation on child care, mothers in the church groups, beatings in the Kingdom schools; rosey bottoms, escaping The Church of the Living Word cult, safety, public health concerns, child protection in religious cults…
Related Resources to Ponder on Consequences
I got to thinking more about the Church of the Living Word children being taken from their homes to be supervised by other designated people in the cult. Since I refused and left The Walk around the time JRS passed away, I am not the person to explain. I refer you to a guest post on No Non-cents Nanna.
When you have a clear understanding of shepherding the youth, can you help me with this question?
Were the youth considered to be in foster care? What kind of legal release forms did parents sign in order to send their children to Church Camp?
What kind of guardianships or power of attorney forms were signed in case of a medical emergency?
Once I get a clear answer, I will update this part.
I thought we might want to explore the requirements for Foster Care since adolescents did not live with their parents.
- Have A Bedroom and Space Available
- Be A Person of Good Character
- Background Checks
- Reliable Transportation
- Safety Checks and Home Study
- The Ability to Provide The Love and Proper Care For The Foster Child/Children
- Good Health
When you have a foster child, all they come with is what they have in their bag.
Children need essential things such as the following: 1. A car seat for each foster child ages 7 and under 2. Their own hygiene items (toothbrushes and toothpaste, body wash, a bar of soap, towels and washcloths, combs and brushes, shampoo and conditioner, and lotions….
Examines the PRIDE model for the development and support of resource families, which provides a standardized framework for recruiting, assessing, preparing, and selecting foster and adoptive parents. The model uses family assessment and group training to provide an accurate assessment decision that reduces the likelihood of placement disruptions.
Disclaimer: This post and the block quotes below are not intended to give legal advice, medical advice, or psychological advice.
I am not a lawyer. I am not your medical practitioner. I am not even your librarian.
I am a researcher and a writer who wants to give you some tips on your research to find a resolution to your specific situation that occurred while being in any cult.
The following block quotes are for informational purposes only. I am not the author of those works nor do I have any connection to the following websites. Use at your risk tho’ I have copied and pasted the links and blurbs in good faith.
If a patient suffers injuries or financial losses, they may be able to sue for damages in court based on negligence, battery, or another civil action. New York law presumes negligence on the part of a person who practiced medicine without a license in any action for damages for personal injuries or death.
(N.Y. C.P.L.R. Law § 4505 (d) (2022).)
This publication discusses laws that require members of the clergy to report cases of suspected child abuse and neglect. The issue of whether a member of the clergy can claim privileged communications as a reason for not reporting also is discussed. This publication presents a general overview of this aspect of child welfare law. Summaries of laws on this topic for all individual States and U.S. territories are available from the Statutes Search page.
Suggested Citation: Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2019). Clergy as mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.This publication is a product of the State Statutes Series prepared by Child Welfare Information Gateway. While every attempt has been made to be as complete as possible, additional information on these topics may be in other sections of a State’s code as well as agency regulations, case law, and informal practices and procedures.
This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway.
I do not mean this as a threat to anyone who acted as a teacher in Kingdom School. We did have some amazing folks who were educated as teachers who would be Mandatory Reporters. (Slave laborers who were underpaid and taken advantage of.)
The Kingdom School teachers were underpaid, an understatement. It is my understanding that school staff salary did not pay into Social Security. So how were they supposed to retire?
In this cult, how many ‘teachers’ were volunteers without an education under their belts?
Teaching a classroom is not just cracking a ruler over kids’ knuckles if they don’t recite their lessons well.
Even Preschool teachers or lead daycare workers need to have classes in Eary Childhood Growth and Development along with CPR and First Aid certificates. I know that for a fact because I had side hustles or part-time jobs as a Preschool teacher in a Christain Daycare.
I almost forgot that I was the nursing director of a chain of Day Cares, which mean that I also had to take over classrooms.
Below is my list of qualities that good teachers need to have. I made it up off the top of my head – I am trained to be a Registered Nurse, not a grade school teacher. So to be more accurate, we need a real teacher to weigh on.
I am curious whether or not G&H considered any of these qualities when they placed people in the classroom or not?
In private religious schools, the staff prays over who they hire or allow to volunteer. They screen people before they allow them in – supposedly. But, did G& H ever mention they prayed over this? Were the volunteers/ teachers fully vetted as in background checks?
Background checks might only mean someone has not gotten caught committing a crime.
- Age-appropriate classroom management
- Sanitation and infection control
- Understanding different learning styles for individuals
- Strong communication skills
- How to listen to the student
- Team leader
- Flexible -adaptable
Why is teacher training so important?
- From college with certification coursework, to student teaching, to ongoing professional development (PD), teachers are continuously training during their careers.
- All this training gives new teachers the greatest chance of success as well as sustain veteran teachers as they meet new challenges in education.www.thoughtco.com/importance-of-effective-teacher-training-8306
I am not a lawyer. I did have the legal credentials to be an early childhood educator and the Mandotry Reporter training obligations were the same as I had as an RN.
I will hazard an educated guess and allege that JRS and his 2nd wife Marilyn used in-house legal counsel to bolster their scheme of using unpaid volunteers to teach the children with the misguided thinking of avoiding the Mandatory Reporter Legal obligation.
That had been my theory previous to at least one discussion on Cult Education Forum. From my perspective with on-hands experience and education, that decision made by JRS and his cronies was misguided. I would even say criminal – but I am not a judge or jury.
This should make parents and victims angry The Church of the Living Word Business owners did not care enough about the human beings they were trafficking for their own wealth.
Below, published in 2019, is a taste of the possible consequences that enablers of this criminal organization should tremble in fear over. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Part of the problem we who were thorns on the side of Shepherds had in rightfully reporting was that the laws from 1970 to 1983 were poor to non-existent in some states. Laws can still be made to change the outcome of situations where no one listened or followed through to help prevent the atrocities that are still coming to light. It is my humble belief that we have only scratched the surface of the depth of crimes against humanity that this cult or any other cult’s upper crust is guilty of.
Some of you sneak reading this, have some choices: hide your face; or speak up to make things right even if you have to face the consequences. I offered this information dn more way back when the law in its current form did not exist in the way it should have been. If those laws were more up-to-date as they are now, they would have helped save some lives from being destroyed.
Please do not give up seeking a just resolution solely on the barrier of the Statute of Limitations that has run out.
Contact your local elected representatives to ask for help. In Iowa, old Chuck Grassley is still kicking ass and currently with a vengeance.
In the upcoming post, unwritten, I will be very specific about the hierarchy of needs for children in general. From that some of you abuse survivors of The Church of the Living Word may be able to pin down more specifically the wrong that can be legally explored. If anything perhaps we could get better laws on the books to save the next generations of kids born into a cult.
Series Title: State StatutesAuthor(s): Child Welfare Information GatewayYear Published: 2019Current Through: February 2019
This factsheet discusses laws that impose penalties, in the form of fines, jail time, or both, on mandatory reporters who fail to report cases of suspected child abuse and neglect as required by the reporting laws. State laws also may impose penalties on any person who knowingly makes a false report of abuse or neglect. This publication presents a general overview of this aspect of child welfare law. Summaries of laws on this topic for all individual States and U.S. territories are available from the Statutes Search page.
1. Don’t make medical claims.
What’s a medical claim? It’s when you say that something will treat, cure, heal or cause a
medically beneficial or harmful effect on the body.
5 Words to avoid:
- Only licensed medical providers may diagnose, treat, prevent, cure or heal anyone. These are
roles provided to those who have been properly trained, certified and/or licensed.
- There is one exception for the use of the word HEAL. In some states, an ordained clergy
member may say that they can “heal” someone b/c the law recognizes a long history of faith
healing. But not all states allow pastoral care as an exception.