Fleeing From the “Tiger’s Den” (Part 1) Audio Essay
My name is Xiaoyou and this year, I am 26 years old. Originally, I was a Catholic. When I was little, I went with my mother to church for Mass, chanting scriptures, confessing and receiving communion. My mother was very zealous in her faith. She would often donate food and clothing as well as money to the church. The church leaders and nuns particularly liked my mother. When they saw her, they would greet her with smiles and show great concern for her. They would also frequently call my mother on the phone to ask her to participate in all kinds of church activities and to help out with various tasks. I would also proactively participate in the classes that the nuns taught. My church friends and I would chant scriptures together. At that time, I felt the joy and the peace that comes along with being with God. I was very happy every day. However, as time passed on, the faith of my church friends became colder and colder. My spirit also became weak and I was unable to adhere to the teachings of God. I would frequently commit sins and confess. After I got married, I went with my husband to other parts of the country for work.
In a flash, it was Christmas season in 2013 and I had the good fortune to encounter one of the sisters of The Church of Almighty God. She told me that the Lord Jesus has already returned and He is performing a new stage of His work. When I heard this, I felt surprised and I emotionally said, “Is that so? The Lord has returned! When did the Lord return? Where is the Lord right now? Sister, tell me right away.” This sister smiled as she told me, “Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus. Almighty God has expressed millions of words and He is doing the judgment work of the last days. He has opened up all the truths of cleansing and saving the human race including the three stages of work that God has performed to save mankind, the mystery of the incarnation, the mystery of the Bible, the meaning of God’s name and mankind’s end and destination, etc. This fulfills the Lord Jesus’ words as follows: ‘I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you’ (Jhn 16:12-13).” I earnestly listened to what this sister was saying and I thought, “Oh my! I never expected that I would be able to welcome the return of the Lord. This is fantastic.” Afterward, the sister witnessed to me the three stages of God’s work and the meaning of God’s name. Afraid that I would not understand, the sister gave me analogies and examples. She communicated these things in detail so that I could understand and it would be clear to me. Through her communications, I understood a lot of the truth that I had not understood before. I also learned that God returned in order to perform the work of cleansing and perfecting man with judgment and chastisement. I felt that it was very possible that Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus. At that time, I told the sister that I was willing to investigate the work of God in the last days. Afterward, I attended gatherings with my brothers and sisters, reading God’s word, singing hymns, dancing and praising God. During my reading of God’s words, when I encountered areas that I did not quite understand, my brothers and sisters were very patient in explaining these things to me. Their communications had the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination. Attending gatherings with them allowed me to enjoy once more the pleasure of the Holy Spirit’s work. I felt particularly happy. In this big family of The Church of Almighty God, there were no distinctions between high and low and poor and wealthy. Everybody opened up and spoke from their hearts. I felt that this was a genuinely happy life! After more than a month of investigation, I read many of Almighty God’s words and I can completely confirm Almighty God’s work of the last days. I also confirm that Almighty God is the second coming of the Lord Jesus. I felt that I was very fortunate. At the same time, I also wanted to tell this good news to my mother and my friends at church.
During the Spring Festival, my husband and I returned home. After coming back home, I immediately bore witness to Almighty God’s work of the last days to my mother. However, regardless of how I explained it, she would not accept it. I felt a bit disappointed and very bewildered. Clearly, Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus. How could she not accept this? Seeing as how my mother would not accept it, I was forced to drop the subject. Afterward, I went back to my work place once again. I attended gatherings with my brothers and sisters and practiced fulfilling duties at church. During that time, I felt much enjoyment in my spirit. My life was also very abundant with incomparable happiness and joy. Particularly when I saw from God’s words how Job lost all his possessions and sons and daughters and his body became covered with sores. During this major trial, he was still able to praise God’s name and have genuine faith in God. Also, there was Abraham, who was able to sacrifice his only son Isaac to God. I was very moved by their faith and obedience toward God. I also wanted to be this kind of person.
Just as I was soaking up the warmth of God’s love, a nightmare started encroaching into my life. One day in August, 2014, my mother suddenly called me to say that my daughter was seriously ill. My mother’s words hit my heart all of a sudden. My daughter is so young; how could she be seriously ill? I was very worried for my daughter and I felt very terrible. So I went before God and prayed, “God, You allowed me to encounter such a situation. My daughter’s sickness is in Your hands. I am willing to entrust my daughter to You. Please give me genuine faith.” After praying, I calmed down a little. Afterward, my husband and I hastily returned home. When we got home, what made me very surprised was that my daughter was sleeping peacefully in bed. I wanted to wake her but my mother raised her hand to stop me and sternly said, “Don’t wake her. She is fine!” This was when I discovered that many relatives were there at home. Now I was aware that my mother tricked me into returning home in order to obstruct me from believing in Almighty God. I thought, “Today, God has arranged this environment for me.It must be something that I have to experience.” As a result, I aske d my mother, “Mother, my daughter is fine. Why did you trick me into returning home? …” Before I could finish speaking, my mother flew into a rage and shouted, “I went to the church and asked the priests and the church leaders. They said, ‘Eastern Lightning is dangerous. You can only enter. You cannot leave.’ Do not believe any longer. I am doing this for your own good. I am afraid that you have taken the wrong path.” My mother also mentioned some rumors and slanders from the religious world against The Church of Almighty God. Listening to my mother say these things, I thought, “My beliefs are basically not wrong. I have followed God’s new work. The Almighty God that I believe in is the second coming of the Lord Jesus who, nowadays, is doing the work of judging, chastising and cleansing man. I believe firmly that it is the true way. Why would I renounce this? When the priests and the church leaders say, ‘If you believe in Eastern Lightning, you can enter but you cannot leave,’ these are purely rumors and fallacies designed to deceive people. I have attended gatherings at The Church of Almighty God for more than half a year now. I am more clear than you people about this. The door of The Church of Almighty God is wide open. Whether you enter or leave is completely up to your own decision. This is completely contradictory to what the priests and the church leaders have said. Since my brothers and sisters have confirmed the true way from within God’s words, they have obtained life nourishment and they have found the spring of living water. That is why they are not willing to leave. Through reading Almighty God’s word, our spirits are nourished. Who would be willing to go back to desolate churches that offer no spiritual nourishment? The priests and the church leaders have not investigated Almighty God’s work of the last days at all. They have not read Almighty God’s words and further, they have not attended gatherings at The Church of Almighty God. What are they basing their words on? Aren’t they just fabricating something out of thin air?” When my mother saw that I was not speaking, she walked up toward me in a rage and slapped me a couple of times. She even forced me to say words of betrayal against God. It was very pained for me to see her like this. I thought that if it were not for the rumors fabricated by the priests and the church leaders, how would my mother coerce me to not believe in Almighty God? Then I said to my mother, “Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus. Believing in Almighty God is heaven’s law and earth’s principle. I must believe to the very end!” When my mother heard me say this, her eyes were red with rage. She shouted at me loudly, “I am your mother. You must listen to me!” Seeing how unreasonable my mother was, I did not say anything else. At this time, my relatives also started criticizing me. They said many things to force me to betray God. I thought, “I have already welcomed the Lord Jesus. The God I believe in is real and the path that I walk is real. I will absolutely not betray God!” I really wanted to advise them to investigate God’s work of the last days and to not be deceived by the rumors of the priests and the church leaders into blindly convicting and resisting Almighty God. However, seeing that they had an attitude that hated the truth and God, I felt that they were people who would not accept the truth. It would not matter what I said, so I no longer said anything else to them. After a while, my mother and my relatives left together. However, my mother did not let go of the situation. She had my younger brother come to my house to live. Every day, my brother would keep an eye on me as if I were a convict. Wherever I would go, he would follow me. This is how I lost my personal freedom.
Two days later, just as my husband, my father-in-law, my child and I were eating dinner, my mother suddenly entered. She was beaming ear to ear and said to me in an affected tone, “Xiaoyou, look who has come!” My mother’s expression and tone of voice made me wonder, “What kind of person has come that would cause my mother to have such a big reaction? This cannot be anything good.” At this time, church leader Liu and church friend Wang came in. I greeted them peacefully and asked them to sit. After we finished eating, church leader Liu looked at me, smiled and said, “Xiaoyou! We are not going to beat around the bush. According to your mother, you have believed in Eastern Lightning. I want to tell you that your beliefs are mistaken. You must stop believing in them. For many generations, your family has been Catholic. You cannot leave God. Otherwise God would not want you. Today, we have come to persuade you. If you do not listen to us, when you descend into hell, you cannot blame us. Xiaoyou, we are doing this for your own good. Your husband would not have gotten better if it weren’t for your mother and I praying to God every day. If you continue to believe in Eastern Lightning, your husband’s illness will return. If that happens, nobody would care.” When I heard her say these things, my heart stopped and I could not help but be afraid. I thought, “In the past, my husband was extremely sick and even though we spent a lot of money, he was not able to get better. Afterward, he was only able to get better because of our prayers every day. If things are really the way she says they are, and my husband’s illness returns, what would I do?” Just as I was feeling bewildered, a verse of God’s words floated up into my mind, “Almighty God is an all-powerful physician!” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). When I thought of this verse, I suddenly woke up. It is correct. I believe in Almighty God who is the return of God. Whether or not my husband will become ill again is in the hands of God. God has authority over everything. What is there for me to be afraid of?! Furthermore, it was God that cured my husband’s sickness. It was not their prayers that did it. They had nothing to do with it. I never expected that, in order to cause me to betray God, they would use my husband’s sickness to threaten me. They wanted to cause me to feel scared about my family’s well-being so that I would deny and betray God. They are truly sinister! When I saw through their sinister motives, I felt disgusted with them. I no longer wanted to talk to them.
When church leader Liu saw that I no longer wanted to speak, he peculiarly said, “It seems that you are very insistent! We have spoken so much to you. Tell us where you stand!” Since they had just talked about the matter of my husband’s illness, I felt a bit troubled. However, once I recalled that God has authority over everything, I became confident. I knew that regardless of what happened, I would not betray God. I gathered up some courage and told them, “Let me tell you, I firmly believe in Almighty God! I will not relinquish my faith in God!” After hearing me speak, my mother roared, “Let’s go! We will go to the church to pray.” After she said this, they left panting in rage. Seeing how vicious they were, I could not help but feel a little bit scared. They are going to pray, are they going to curse me? What can I do? In this state of helplessness, I came before God and prayed, “Almighty God! All of them are standing on one side of the battle line and besieging me! I feel like I am all alone, God! I do not know what to do. I am very scared. Please, guide me!” After I finished praying, I recalled some of God’s words, “You should know that all things in the environment around you are there by My permission, I arrange it all. See clearly and satisfy My heart in the environment I have given to you. Do not fear, Almighty God of hosts will surely be with you; He has your back and He is your Shield” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). With the guidance of God’s words, my heart became clear: “Yes! God is my staunch support. With God by my side, there is nothing I need to be afraid of. The church leader and the church friend said these things just in order to make me scared of my going to hell, my family not being at peace, and my husband contracting an illness so that I will forsake God. If I am timid or scared, haven’t I just fallen for Satan’s scheme? The fate, final destination and the ups and downs of my husband and I are not up to anybody, nor the priests and the church leaders. They are in the hands of God. It is useless for them to convict and curse.” When I thought about this, my heart became peaceful again and I was not afraid at all. From the bottom of my heart, I praised God and thanked God for guiding me with His words. I thanked Him for granting me the faith and strength necessary to see through Satan’s schemes so that I would not be disturbed or deceived.
One afternoon, just as I was about to have a midday nap with my child, Sister Zhao and Sister Zhang came to disturb me. After Sister Zhao said some things that threatened me, Sister Zhang acted as if she was very serious and said, “It is true. We have come in contact with the people of The Church of Almighty God in the past. We were almost deceived by them.” When I heard her say this, I was furious. I knew that my brothers and sisters were absolutely incapable of doing something like this. What they were saying were just rumors and slander. So, I questioned them, “How did they deceive you?” Sister Zhang said in a seemingly serious tone, “There is no way you would know! They gave me a book!” I continued to ask them, “Tell me, what was the book like that they gave you? What was the name of the book? What were the contents of the book?” They gave me an awkward look, and after hemming and hawing for a bit, they finally covered up and said, “I have forgotten.” When I heard them say this, I thought, “Are you actually nuns? How could you dare to bear false witness and knowingly frame others? How is it that you are completely irreverent toward God? Are you actually believers in God? Could it be that you are not afraid to be punished by God?” Afterward, Sister Zhao asked me again, “Are you going to work?” I resolutely replied her, “Yes!” She insincerely advised me, “Do not go to work. Staying at home and looking after your child is much better!” I felt very disgusted by their hypocrisy. So I started to walk out of the room and said, “Mind your own business.” Seeing that they were unable to disturb me, they left dejectedly. After they left, I felt very troubled and depressed. I thought that this recent episode where the church leader and these nuns came to disturb me was all to spread rumors about, slander and attack Almighty God and my brothers and sisters or to spread fallacies. Their purpose was to deceive and threaten me. Even though I was not deceived by them and I even refuted their points, each time, I felt very agitated and I was unable to quiet down before God and read God’s words after they left. My brother was still monitoring me. I felt restricted as I prayed, sang hymns and read God’s word. I felt particularly constrained. In the midst of my suffering, I prayed to God, “Almighty God! This church leader and these nuns have come to disturb me time after time. I feel very troubled and depressed. Right now, I do not know how I should deal with them. God, enlighten me and guide me!”
After praying, I took my MP5 player out just in time to see the 151st principle “How to deal with religious people” in Practice and Exercises for Principled Behavior. It said, “Those who read the Bible in grand churches recite the Bible every day, yet not one understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one is able to know God; moreover, not one is in accord with the heart of God. They are all worthless, vile men, each standing on high to teach God. Though they brandish the name of God, they willfully oppose Him. Though they label themselves believers of God, they are ones who eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such men are devils who devour the soul of man, demons who purposefully disturb those who try to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks that impede the path of those who seek God. Though they are of ‘robust flesh,’ how are their followers to know that they are antichrists who lead man in opposition to God? How are they to know that they are living devils who specially seek souls to devour?” (“All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After I finished reading God’s words, I understood immediately. It turned out that these priests and church leaders were the very religious antichrists that God revealed. I pondered how even though they believed in God, they did not seek the truth at all and they did not have a heart that revered God at all. Not only did they not investigate God’s work of the last days themselves, they also blasphemed God, convicted God’s new work and started rumors to deceive my mother so that she would hit me, scold me and put me under house arrest. Afterward, they repeatedly disturbed, cheated, deceived and threatened me. Thankfully, with God’s words of guidance, I did not fall for their schemes to betray God. The Pharisees of the past also used all kinds of sinister methods to obstruct the common Jewish people from accepting the Lord Jesus’ gospel. They even used rumors to deceive the people. They said that the Lord Jesus’ work overstepped the Old Testament and that Jesus was not the return of the Messiah. This caused the common Jewish people to accompany the Pharisees in nailing the sinless Lord Jesus to the cross. The Lord Jesus criticized them by saying, “But woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men, for you yourselves do not enter in; and those that are going in, you suffer not to enter” (Mat 23:13). As to the actions of the priests, church leaders and nuns, I thought about the words my brothers and sisters communicated to me in the past regarding how to distinguish the essence of the Pharisees. I saw clearly that these priests and church leaders are basically Pharisees of the past. In order to protect their own status and livelihood, they use every possible means to obstruct me from believing in Almighty God. They are afraid that I would preach the work of Almighty God of the last days to my mother and my entire family. This would thereby reduce the size of their flock and the amount of donations they receive each month would also decrease. They truly are greedy for the sacrifices that the believers dedicate to God and they are the evil servants and antichrists that obstruct people from entering the kindom of heaven! I saw clearly their antichrist essence and I knew how to deal with these people. They believe in God yet they resist God and are God’s enemies. As such, I must abandon them. Even though these days, I have suffered due to their disturbance, I have the guidance and enlightenment of God’s words and I have a path to follow. I feel particularly happy and I am much more stable. Their negativity has allowed me to develop my ability to distinguish and moreover, it has allowed me to have some practical experience in regards to God’s words. I have experienced for myself that God’s words are the truth, the way and the life. Moreover, I am more certain that Almighty God is the true God. I am resolute in my belief and regardless of how they disturb me, I will not allow them to cause me to betray God. I am determined to stand witness to God and to humiliate the devil Satan!