Looking across the board at the different ministries and organizations that have outlined the characteristics of a cult, they all agree on the following points. As we go down the list I will explain how they do or do not apply to Living Faith Christian Fellowship.
- Not allowed to question. Yes - Members are expected to be "teachable", which we quickly learned meant not questioning. Notice how their literature and website clearly states they welcome all "teachable" people to join them? Be prepared to sit back and listen, and should you question, just smile and nod because Mark Bullen is ALWAYS right.
- According to leadership, all members that have left were not truly wanting to be disciples. Yes - There is clearly no acceptable reason to leave this fellowship unless you "want the world" or were not truly wanting to follow Christ. Every ex-member is a rebel that could not submit to authority. Any sign of not wearing a head-covering or wearing a cowboy hat only confirms to them that the person that left was ungodly to begin with.
- Being told you must attend their church to be saved. Yes - You must be identical in belief and practice to be a true believer. This means wearing a veil, not a cap; wearing a vest or smock, not a cape; homeschooling, not private schooling; etc. Living Faith Christian Fellowship will not offer communion to or take communion with any other group because they are the most biblical, and godly, church that they've found, another confirmation that they are a cult. Therefore, you can only be saved if you attend Living Faith Christian Fellowship. There was even a family that lived out of the area that had been offered communion at one time, but when they were taking to long to move to Brookfield, they were then denied communion. They were not in any known sin, yet still denied communion. (Despite this warning sign, the family still continued with their moving plans.)
- If you want to leave, you are told you will go to hell. Yes - Not only will you go to hell, but you will take your family with you. Once you are a communion taking member, you can never leave. There are no churches to move to because they have no sister congregations and don't accept anyone elses practices. Forget moving anywhere, if your elderly mother in New York needs you, forget it. The cult of Living Faith Christian Fellowship IS your family, friends, everything.
- Being rebuked for the way you greet one another or how you respond to leadership. Yes - There is a certain proper way to do the Holy Kiss. If you do not greet another member as "brother" or "sister" it is seen as a personal offense. My 3 year old daughter was labeled an unhappy child because she was shy around all the people at church and stayed pretty quiet and subdued. My husband was labeled angry because he didn't plaster a smile on his face all the time.
- Putting down other churches and building themselves up. Yes - Wednesday night Bible study is devoted to how they are more biblical than other churches. The Mennonites are considered the enemy, as well as the baptists. Their "Blue Book" is all about how their belief is better than other churches.
- Financial records not open to viewing. Yes - The church is not an established non-profit or religious groups. The church does collect tithes and offerings, but the records are not made public and are all managed by the bishop, Mark Bullen.
- Constantly asking for your money. No - This is the one characteristic of a cult that I honestly can say they are not guilty of. However, Mark Bullen is constantly reminding the members of how he takes on the extra heating and cooling costs and the costs for adding onto his house so the church can meet there. It was always a curiosity to me that he made it sound as if he was footing the bill for everything, even though people were paying tithes and offerings.