KEYWORDS: people, lord, problems, lot, leadership, field

Excoms & Immature Leadership

Karen Zerby

By Maria Maria #87 DO 2340 8/87

(Notes on a recent discussion Mama had regarding some Family members who either left or were excommunicated:)

1. TO UNDERSTAND WHY SOME THINGS HAVE HAPPENED, YOU'VE GOT TO NOT ONLY PUT YOURSELF IN THE PEOPLE'S SHOES WHO HAD THE PROBLEMS, BUT ALSO IN THEIR LEADERSHIP'S SHOES as well. If these people who have backslidden & been excommunicated had been real good or nearly perfect people, they wouldn't have backslidden & they wouldn't have had such serious problems. Almost all of them have had some pretty big problems‚ but it's true that in many cases the poor leadership was in some ways too immature or too young, & just didn't quite know how to cope with it. So, sad to say‚ they frequently mishandled things.

2. I WOULDN'T SAY IT WAS BECAUSE THE LEADERSHIP'S MOTIVES WERE WRONG. Maybe in a few rare cases there was someone who was jealous or wanted the guy's wife or something, but normally it was just because they were young & immature & rather unsure of their own position. Basically, they just didn't know what to do with some of these problem people.—People that in many cases were actually much smarter & more talented than they were, but perhaps were real stinkers, real rascals, real self-righteous & critical as well.

3. SO SOME OF OUR POOR LITTLE LEADERS, THEY JUST DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THEM! They should have done a lot of things, but in many cases, they just sort of did what was human.—They felt frustrated & unable to cope with the person's problems so they got rid of the problem by getting rid of the person. They just did the natural thing, when what they should have done is something a little bit more supernatural if they'd really been depending on the Lord & desperate with Him! That's what made them immature, young leaders in the first place, they weren't utterly dependent on the Lord & desperate with Him for the answers!

4. WHEN YOU HAVE SOME OF THESE SUPER-DUPER WHIZ KIDS & SMART-ALECKS, THEY'RE USUALLY NOT VERY EASY TO HANDLE. They often want to be the leaders themselves, & think they should be, or at least they want to be "armchair generals" of some kind. They don't exactly always want to do all the hard work of a leader‚ but they would like to be in some sort of an advisory capacity, & therefore it's difficult for people to deal with them.


5. WE HAVE TO LOOK AT BOTH SIDES OF THESE SITUATIONS‚ & THERE'S A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF BLAME ON BOTH SIDES. But when we realise that a serious mistake has been made & perhaps someone has been excommunicated who maybe shouldn't have been, I certainly think somebody should try to rectify it. We should try to win & restore our brothers when we have offended them, though like it says, it's usually pretty hard to do.—Pro.18:19. But it doesn't say it's impossible, & we have won a lot of brothers & sisters back into the Family.

6. OF COURSE, THEY LOVED THE LORD, & THEY KNEW THAT THE WORD WAS RIGHT & that the Lord had not failed them. A lot of them probably realised that their being out of the Family had a lot to do with the immaturity of their former leaders. But they still knew that the Lord & the Family were right, & they were willing to forgive their leadership, as well as repent of their own sins.

7. BUT NOT EVERYBODY SHOULD NECESSARILY GO OUT & TRY TO WIN THESE BACKSLIDERS & FORMER MEMBERS BACK into the Family. Often, they're full of all kinds of doubts, & you have to sit there & listen to all their complaints & grievances & bitternesses poured out about everybody, including the top leadership. It's a tough job to win such folks back, & it should be done with teamwork & prayer & counsel & permission. "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak!"—Romans 15:1.

8. USUALLY YOU'VE HAD SOME KIND OF INDICATION THAT THEY WANT TO RETURN TO SOME AMOUNT OF FELLOWSHIP, or they've reached out in some way before you try to win them back. We usually have some hope that they can be restored, or the Lord will lay them real strongly on somebody's heart.—Or maybe you see them on the street & they act real friendly & they show a sincere interest in the Word. There's usually some indication that there's at least some spark of life there. We just can't start going down the list of all the backsliders we've ever had & checking them out one by one! I think to save all our time‚ the Lord would lead us to certain people who He wants to at least give another chance to‚ or who deserve an apology.

9. SOME PEOPLE JUST CAN'T SEEM TO SURVIVE IN THE FAMILY, not because it's so much their fault, but it's the fault of others. I don't know if I'd have survived & made it in a lot of our Homes! Let's face it, to survive in our Family takes a lot of courage, a lot of conviction & a lot of guts!—As well as a lot of faith & willingness to do things sometimes that you maybe don't even know are of the Lord!

10. I HOPE I'M NOT BEING TOO HARD ON OUR LEADERSHIP, BUT THAT'S BEEN MY IMPRESSION SOME OF THE TIME. Our people have to go through an awful lot to live in the Family! So in some ways‚ I don't blame some of them for not wanting to live under some of our leadership.—Particularly some of our past leadership, like the Chain! A lot depends on who the leadership is & what Home they're in.


11. BACK TO WHAT I WAS SAYING ABOUT WHY SOME OF THESE PEOPLE HAVE LEFT OR BEEN KICKED OUT OF THE FAMILY: Some of these high-powered independent personalities have caused a lot of problems!—And as a result‚ their leaders haven't always quite known how to handle them. Many times the people were actually good people, they sincerely wanted to serve the Lord & they loved the Family, but they just had problems living under their leadership—living with & relating to other people.

12. WELL, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT WITH SOME OF THESE CASES‚ THE LORD'S WORK WOULD BE BETTER OFF & we'd all be able to do more for the Lord if they'd just stop all the bickering & the contention‚ & get out on their own, & everybody would be their own boss!—In other words, if they really want to serve the Lord, but they can't get along with other people or with their leadership, separate!—Let'm strike out on their own!

13. DAD HAS ALWAYS SAID THIS: IF YOU CAN'T LIVE TOGETHER, LIVE SEPARATELY! And if they can't get along living under their leadership, then let them be their own leadership! They'll either have to be in a Home with others who can live under them, or they'll have to be by themselves somewhere & simply be their own leaders. Why condemn them? It causes a lot more problems trying to constantly battle the difficulties & obstacles that come up when people are living together who can't get along with each other than if they would just pull out & live on their own.

14. LET'S DO THE LORD'S WORK!—THAT'S THE FIRST & MOST IMPORTANT THING, SEEKING FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD, not just seeking to try to battle our problems & overcome all our shortcomings & weaknesses! If trying to make certain people cooperate & work together is going to be the major battle, our major work & take most of our time‚ then we're not going to get the Lord's Work done!

15. SO WHY NOT JUST LET SUCH PEOPLE GO OUT & "DO THEIR OWN THING" & serve the Lord the way they want to!—At least they're going to be preaching the Gospel‚ they're going to be serving the Lord. They may do it in their own way, but at least they're still doing it, & that's the main thing! If we, like the churches, get so busy trying to perfect ourselves, trying to get the victory over all our personal problems, & we wind up spending so much time & effort on that, we won't get the Lord's Work done!

16. OF COURSE WE SHOULD TRY TO GET ALONG, & WE DO TRY TO WORK ON OUR PROBLEMS. But people that have just too big a problem along that line, & constantly wind up in contention with others & fighting each other, let's not let that go on for too long! Let's just let them get out, be on their own & be their own leadership, if that's what they want. As long as they're doing the Lord's Work‚ winning souls & getting out the Message, why not? It's like I recently said about separations being the solution for some of these problem marriages. (See "Separations" by Maria‚ GN 289.)

17. IF YOU CAN'T GET ALONG AFTER SUCH A LONG TIME, if it doesn't look like you're going to be able to get the victory & make the grade, & you've tried everything else, then why stay together & both be ineffective?—Why not split & hopefully be effective? If that's the answer, why don't we do it?

18. THE BE-ALL & END-ALL ISN'T JUST TO HAVE EVERYBODY JOIN UP & LIVE COMMUNALLY with 30 or 40 people in one Home! If they can do it, of course it certainly has its advantages for the people who are willing to work in cooperation & harmony together.—Living together has lots & lots of advantages‚ & that's why we do it. But if some people simply can't work that way‚ then let's not make that our major work to overcome their problems of not getting along with others! Let's just let them go on their own, & not condemn them. Let's be thankful that they want to serve the Lord & preach the Gospel!

19. WE'VE GOT QUITE A FEW PRETTY INDEPENDENT PEOPLE, & they're usually real high-powered people, & maybe self-righteous as well, & they're usually pretty intelligent & talented.—This is one reason why they sometimes have a hard time living & working under leadership that they can find a lot of fairly obvious faults in, because the leadership isn't as smart or talented or whatever as they are. Of course, the leaders may be more spiritual, & we hope they are. But it's often sort of difficult for the strong, talented person to see how that is going to help much when the poor little leader doesn't have a lot of talent or ability, & perhaps isn't even very mature or very wise.

20. SOME PEOPLE JUST CAN'T STAND TO LIVE UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES! So my goodness, why should we try to force them to live under other people if it just ends up in bickering, arguing, contention & hurt feelings? If people just can't do it‚ let's forget it!—Let's let them get out & do what they can do, & what they're supposed to do, & that's preach the Gospel to every creature!

21. OF COURSE, DAD HAS ALREADY TOLD THEM THAT THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO DO‚ but I think a lot of them get condemned if they leave under circumstances that are difficult like that, they feel very condemned, & they often are condemned by others as well. Even if they're not excommunicated, they might wind up being bad-mouthed or spoken against in some way. I don't know exactly how it happens in every case.

22. I JUST THINK THAT THIS HAS BEEN THE PROBLEM IN SOME CASES, & has resulted in a lot of people leaving the Family. They felt they couldn't make it living with or under others, so they felt they were on their own & didn't really belong in the Family.—Or sometimes they haven't felt that, but their leadership has, & has labelled them as incorrigible & independent & not deserving of being in the Family.—Which I don't think is the right attitude at all!

23. FOR GOD'S SAKE, WE DON'T WANT PEOPLE IN OUR HOMES WHO CAN'T GET ALONG WITH OTHER PEOPLE!—But we do want them in the Family if they sincerely love the Lord & want to preach the Gospel, & they comply with our basic rules. Either let them be the leader & find some people who can live under them, or let'm go off on their own & be the leader of their own little family! For goodness sake, we don't want a lot of squabbling & contention in our Homes‚ we want to work together to preach the Gospel! So we should almost be thankful when such people leave.—Try to help them! Help them to do the job where they want to be & where they'll be happy! Don't just condemn them for not being able to live under somebody!—After all, maybe the problem is you, & you're impossible to live with!

24. I DON'T THINK WE SHOULD TRY TO FORCE ANYBODY TO LIVE TOGETHER, OR CONDEMN THEM IF THEY CAN'T! Like some of our so-called backsliders: Many of them didn't want to be backsliders, but they just couldn't seem to make it in the Family Home, so they figured where else did they have to go? When they left‚ they were considered backsliders, but actually, they probably wouldn't have backslidden if our people would have given them their blessing: "OK, you can't make it here, we understand.—So go & start a Home over there & live by yourself & we can fellowship together sometimes! Just keep serving the Lord & tithing & we'll give you the lit!"—And everybody could have been happy.

25. WHY SHOULD WE TRY TO CORRAL EVERYONE & MAKE THEM FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE TO LIVE IN A COMBO HOME OF 20-40 PEOPLE just to be able to say they're in the Family? Of course, in Europe & North America, a lot of our folks do live in little one-family Homes, little families on their own, so a lot of them are already doing that. But on the mission field‚ if we have people do that‚ I think they're often condemned, feeling like something is really wrong with them. Well, I'm sure some of them do have their problems, but if that's what they want to do & they feel like they can serve the Lord better that way‚ for goodness sakes, they probably can! So let'm serve the Lord better their own way if that's how they feel they can do it! Our Homes are so big anyway, why do we want to crowd 40 people into one Home if somebody wants to live on their own in another Home?!

26. SO IF THEY WANT TO LEAVE, LET'M! If they're friendly & want to keep preaching the Gospel, winning souls & serving the Lord‚ but they just don't find themselves compatible with certain personalities, why should we condemn them? God bless them!—Amen?


27. OF COURSE, WHEN SOMEONE HAS HAD SOME PRETTY SERIOUS PROBLEMS ON THE FIELD & they're really not doing very well, their leadership can be perfectly justified in suggesting that they go back to their Home field. But this doesn't necessarily mean that they are excommunicated.

28. EVEN TO SEND PEOPLE BACK TO THE STATES DOESN'T NECESSARILY MEAN EXCOMMUNICATION, unless they're doing something really bad. As usual, each case has to be decided individually. If it's a case where they're breaking rules, they're weak, & they're on a field where things are difficult, perhaps the change of going to an easier field where there would not be so much pressure on them for funds & for everything else will help them to get the victory.

29. THERE ARE A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH LANGUAGES & FINANCES & ALL KINDS OF OTHER DIFFICULTIES ON THE FIELD. So if they can go to a Home field where they can still be useful to the Lord, still witness, still tithe, & where they wouldn't be a security breach, why not encourage them to do so?—Why should they be excommunicated when a transfer to an easier field might help them get the victories they need, & where they can continue serving the Lord & being a blessing to others?

30. IF THEY'VE REALLY MISBEHAVED & HAD SOME SERIOUS PROBLEMS OR DISOBEDIENCES, MAYBE THEY'LL HAVE TO BE PUT DOWN TO BABE'S STATUS. But in most cases they can still be part of the Family, & they can still witness & serve the Lord. Maybe there's an entire family, & maybe the problem is just one of the mates, which granted, is a big problem, & on a tough pioneer field such problems are amplified. But if they were to go to an easier Home field, hopefully they can sort out their personal problems there & continue to serve the Lord. Even if one of them is very weak, do we really want to excommunicate them?

31. EACH CASE REALLY TAKES INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT & DISCUSSION & PRAYER! Recently, one of our leaders confessed to our Ambassadors that he had been having some serious problems.—Problems for which others have been excommunicated by him in the past. Well, I didn't even consider excommunicating him. I just considered telling him, "You had better stop that right now!—That's not of the Lord at all! You get the victory over it, & if you don't‚ you're not going to be able to hold the leadership position we've entrusted you with!"

32. BUT EXCOMMUNICATION NEVER EVEN ENTERED MY MIND! I just realised that that was his weakness‚ but I believe his heart is more or less in the right place. I don't think just because someone slips or falls & then confesses it, that we should immediately excommunicate them!

33. A LOT DEPENDS ON EXACTLY WHAT THE SITUATION IS & WHAT KIND OF DAMAGE THE OFFENDER IS DOING, how much influence it's having & upon whom. It depends on how bad it is & who it's affecting, & especially where their hearts are really at, as well as their motivation & desire to get the victory or their lack of desire. You have to prayerfully take all of these things into consideration in order to decide whether it's necessary to completely excommunicate them or put them down to babe's status or just chastise or penalise them by sending them back to their Home field or whatever. There are actually quite a few alternative choices.


34. IN A SERIOUS CASE WHERE THEIR HEART DEFINITELY IS NOT IN THE RIGHT PLACE & they're very rebellious & reprobate, when they've stolen things & they've seriously endangered the Work in any way, we certainly don't want to be overly merciful.—Such serious cases need to be dealt with & quickly! When someone is really out of control & causing serious problems that could harm the Work, we need to be able to tell the System authorities, "Look, this guy is out of fellowship with us. We do not agree with his behaviour & actions.—He's not one of us, we've excommunicated him! We are against what he is doing as much as you are, & we no longer even have any fellowship with him. Whatever he says, he is not a part of our organisation, & we've asked him to leave & go back to his Home country!"

35. REALLY SERIOUS CRIMES & OFFENCES THAT COULD JEOPARDISE OUR WORK SHOULD DEFINITELY BE EXCOMMUNICATED! Like Dad says, it's, "Get the victory or get out!" Well, we can modify that according to each situation‚ but when they are rebellious & reprobate & obviously are not even trying to yield & get the victory, they aren't trying to do their best‚ then the sooner we get rid of them the better!

36. ANOTHER REASON WHY IT MIGHT BE BETTER TO SIMPLY SUGGEST TO SOME PEOPLE THAT THEY GO BACK TO THEIR HOME FIELD is that it might help you to avoid all kinds of terrible problems if you excommunicate them & they decide to turn on you & start waging an aggressive war of revenge against you on the field. By letting them stay in the Family, but on their Home field, it's giving them another chance.—And if their serious problems continue there, then they could be excommunicated. But we should give them a little bit of time after they get back to see if they're going to straighten up.

37. BECAUSE MOST OF OUR FORMER CHAIN LEADERSHIP WAS PRETTY UNMERCIFUL, when our Ambassadors go into a new situation, they almost have to bend over backwards & go to the other extreme of showing the people a lot of love, mercy & forgiveness. But once they've established all that & the people are sure of their love, then they can start cracking down & really taking care of the problem cases & getting the rotten apples out of the basket.

38. THERE HAS BEEN SO MUCH MISHANDLING OF PEOPLE IN THE PAST, & PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SO HURT & WOUNDED, if our Ambassadors were to just automatically start cracking down on everybody first thing‚ the people wouldn't have a chance to feel that their leadership really loves them. People misinterpret things sometimes, & in spite of all their problems, they need to see that we really love them‚ & that we are going to try to have mercy on them. But we can't do that forever if people persist in their waywardness!

39. WE JUST CAN'T LET SERIOUS PROBLEMS GO ON & ON.—And our leadership needs to have that conviction in those cases that really deserve & warrant it, to give it to them & get rid of them! And our people need to realise that it's not just because their leaders are tyrants.—It's not their idea, it's in the Letters, & is what needs to be done! Anybody who doesn't live up to the Word, to our basic rules, & thereby endangers or hinders the Work security-wise or otherwise‚ they really need to be dealt with.

40. ANYONE WHO EITHER SLOWS DOWN & HINDERS THE WORK OR ENDANGERS THE SECURITY OF THE WORK IN ANY WAY, Dad has already given us the Word in the Letters to get rid of them. If you'd ask Dad about some of these specific cases of troublemakers, he'd crack down on them immediately! So for our leadership to get tough & to purge out some of these severe problem cases is not because they're tyrants, it's what's necessary & what is going to help save the field! So don't feel overly sorry for some of these poor problem people.

41. WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT?—TO HAVE TOO MUCH MERCY ON A FEW PROBLEM PEOPLE, & POSSIBLY LOSE THE FIELD?—Or to rid the rebels & hopefully save the whole Work?—Thus enabling the majority of our people to safely remain on that field so our work of winning souls can continue! Just because we have to sometimes be a little hard on some people, it's far better that we be hard on a few & leave the field open for the many.


42. EVEN IF OUR LEADERSHIP SOMETIMES MAKES A FEW MISTAKES, EVEN IF WE POSSIBLY MISJUDGE THE SITUATION IN SOME CASES, it's better that we do that & we're sure that we've gotten rid of the real serious problems, even if along with them we might lose a few that maybe aren't that bad a problem. It's better we go to that extreme than going to the other, & leaving too many problems on the field, & as a result losing the entire field or greatly hindering the Lord's Work!

43. WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES, SO MAYBE SOMEBODY WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE THAT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN‚ but "all things work together for good". —Rom.8:28. We certainly trust & hope that our leaders are going to use love in doing it, & we're sure they'll try to use lots of wisdom & prayer, but we can't say they're never going to make any mistakes, that they're never going to accidentally accuse somebody falsely. Hopefully they won't & they're going to try not to, but even if they do, our people need to remember that the Lord doesn't let anything happen that isn't going to work out for good for His children. So if that happens, well, there must be some lessons to be learned in it for those involved.

44. WE'VE HAD SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE WRITTEN US AFTER THEY'VE BEEN EXCOMMUNICATED & they've said, "Well‚ we still don't really see the reason for it‚ & we don't really believe we were justifiably excommunicated. But we must confess, we see why the Lord allowed it, to teach us lessons that we certainly needed to learn. We had a lot of self-righteousness & pride & criticism."—Which, of course, almost proves that maybe they were at least a borderline case.

45. THEY'VE SAID, "WE HAD PROBLEMS WITH THESE VARIOUS THINGS & WE NEEDED TO LEARN SOME LESSONS. We needed to get desperate with the Lord. We needed to not take the Family for granted any more & to see how much we needed the Family, which we never would have realised as clearly if we hadn't been excommunicated! We needed to value the Lord's Word more, & now that we're not getting it, or not getting it in such abundance, we value it more than ever!"

46. IF PEOPLE REALLY LOVE THE LORD, THERE ARE A LOT OF GOOD LESSONS TO BE LEARNED EVEN THROUGH EXCOMMUNICATION, or through being demoted to babe's status or sent back to the Home field or whatever the case may be! It's not going to make the people who love the Lord & whose hearts are in the right place backslide & become bitter enemies. The Lord will use it for good & not for bad.

47. EVEN IF MAYBE THEY WERE A BORDERLINE CASE, maybe there was a question & maybe they shouldn't have been excommunicated or should not have been sent back.—Maybe the leadership did make a mistake. But the Lord didn't make a mistake, & that's where faith comes in, faith to believe that He has His hand on our lives & won't allow anything to happen that's not somehow within His Will & plan.

48. IN OTHER WORDS, WE CERTAINLY COULD MAKE SUCH MISTAKES, but in the Lord's overall general view of things, He doesn't make mistakes, He allows things to happen & promises that all things work together for our good! Sometimes He even uses our mistakes to accomplish His purposes. PTL!

49. SO LORD HELP US ALL TO LOOK NOT ONLY ON THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE in our dealings with others, but to look on the heart, like the Lord does! (1Sam.16:7)—And better yet‚ may we always look to the Lord for His wisdomdiscernment & Love!—Amen?—Do you? GBY!