A Story of Reporting a False Leader
By Liu Yang, South Korea
In 2010, I was doing the editing duty in my church. In my interactions with one of the church leaders, Ms. Li, I learned that she was chosen as a church leader just several months after she started believing in God. She often told us, “The last few years, God has always been gracious to me. My leaders always transfer me to churches that are having difficulties. Sometimes I don’t want to go, but I know this is God’s commission, so I can’t consider my fleshly interests. I have to be loyal to God. So, I accept. At every church I go to, I do my rounds, and a church that was in chaos returns to normal, and church life and gospel work are effective again. Sometimes I encounter difficulties, but I pray to God, God opens a way forward, and everything goes smoothly. I see God’s work is so wonderful …” At the time, hearing Ms. Li’s experience made me admire her. I thought she was able to bear burdens and was a capable worker. I remember one time, before a meeting, I was casually chatting, and Ms. Li interrupted me to say, “Time here is precious, so let’s not chat at meetings. Let’s use this time to fellowship on God’s word.” Hearing her say that made me a little embarrassed, but I admired her even more. I thought, “Over the years, I’ve met many leaders, but Ms. Li is the first one I’ve met who is so serious, so pious, and so dedicated to pursuing the truth.” I looked up to and admired her even more. But after interacting with her for a long time, I realized that although her fellowship was always well-reasoned, and she outwardly appeared like someone who pursues the truth, she very rarely gave fellowship on how she reflected on and came to know herself based on God’s word or her practical experience of God’s word. Most of her fellowship was various forms of exalting herself and showing off to make others think she was someone cultivated and used in important roles by God’s house, so that others would look up to her. But more serious than that was the fact that in some key matters involving the interests of God’s house, she didn’t practice the truth, and with her eyes wide open, she lied, deceived, dodged responsibility, and tried to defend herself. I remember once, the leader responsible for Ms. Li’s work, Mr. Sun, committed misdeeds in the church. He embezzled and appropriated God’s offerings. And he was named an antichrist and expelled. Ms. Li was aware of Mr. Sun’s wicked deeds, and she actually took part in them. But after Mr. Sun was expelled, we talked about Sun’s evil deeds, and not only did Ms. Li deny her involvement in Mr. Sun’s wickedness, she didn’t reflect on herself or repent to God, and she portrayed herself as entirely clean of the matter, as if she didn’t know anything about it and had no part in it. At that moment, I discovered Ms. Li said one thing and did another. She was a hypocrite. Because Ms. Li was skilled at disguising herself and deceiving with lofty words, an expression of admiration and worship appeared on the faces of some brothers and sisters at the mention of her name. When my partner and I saw Ms. Li’s behavior and the consequences of her work and fellowship, we applied the principles of discerning false leaders and antichrists, determined that Ms. Li was a false leader, and wrote a letter reporting these matters about Ms. Li to our leaders.
After we sent the letter, we waited for our leaders to verify what we said about Ms. Li, but after half a month, we still hadn’t received a reply. My partner and I were wondering about this, and one day, Ms. Li happily came to a meeting with us and said the leaders intended to cultivate her. I couldn’t believe it. I thought, “Rather than being dismissed, this false leader is being cultivated and used in important roles? Did we incorrectly report her because we didn’t understand the principles of truth and lacked discernment?” After a little more than a month, Ms. Li came again to say the church was planning to elect new leaders, and that a majority of the brothers and sisters had a positive appraisal of her and wanted to elect her as a leader. When I heard that, I was stunned. I thought, “Ms. Li is sly and cunning. She isn’t fit to be a leader at all. I should write another letter to report Ms. Li.” But as I was getting ready to write the letter, I hesitated. At that point, so many people lacked discernment of Ms. Li and were deceived by her false outward appearance. If I wrote a letter to report her again, and our leaders didn’t understand the real situation, would they think I was harboring a grudge against Ms. Li? Beyond that, if Ms. Li found out I was the one who wrote the letter, would she resent it and surreptitiously try to sabotage me? On top of that, the books of God’s word, sermons, and fellowship we were issued all went through her, so if we offended her, she wouldn’t need to actively suppress us in any way; simply ignoring us would be enough to put us in dire straits. Thinking of those things made me feel very conflicted. Should I report her again, or forget about her? As I considered my own interests, future, and fate, it felt as if there was an invisible dark influence binding and constraining me. To protect myself from her suppression, I struggled for a bit, and eventually decided to compromise. I decided to put aside reporting her for the moment. I found consolation by telling myself, “At least now we have discernment of Ms. Li, and will no longer be deceived by her, so this will do for now. Perhaps one day, God will reveal things, and everyone will gain discernment regarding Ms. Li and see her for what she is. When that day comes, she will be replaced as a matter of course.”
A little more than a month later, we received a letter from two sisters. The letter from these sisters said they had discerned Ms. Li was a false leader and wanted to report her, and they asked our opinions and whether we had any advice. I thought of how we hadn’t received a reply letter since the last time we reported Ms. Li. If we reported her again, would our leaders say we had formed a clique to attack the leader and were disturbing church work? If that happened, it was very likely that before Ms. Li was dismissed, we, the ones who reported her, would be replaced and sent home. With this in mind, my partner and I replied to the two sisters with a letter saying, “You can report her on your own. We reported her once in the past, so this time, we won’t report her again.” After we replied, I felt very remorseful. I realized I was avoiding responsibility and playing tricks to protect myself. It was cowardice and shrinking back in the face of a dark influence. To spare myself from my internal condemnation, I used the same reasons as before to comfort myself: “For now, too many people lack discernment of Ms. Li. If we insist on reporting her and advocating for her dismissal, the brothers and sisters won’t allow it. They will try to protect her. We should wait until the brothers and sisters have discernment. When the time is right, she will naturally be replaced.” Even though that was what I thought, every time I saw passages of God’s word on exposing false leaders and antichrists, I felt condemned by my conscience. I couldn’t help but think that if I didn’t resolve the problem of the false leader before me, wasn’t I tolerating and providing cover for Satan as it disrupted and disturbed church work? Especially when I saw that the brothers and sisters who hosted us admired Li, the moment we exposed her behaviors as a false leader, they would not only lack discernment, they would also resent and blame us, and think we were deliberately attacking Ms. Li. When I saw that this false leader had deceived people so deeply, and didn’t know how many brothers and sisters in the church were victims of this deception, I felt even more that false leaders are a hindrance and stumbling block to the life entry of God’s chosen people. At that moment, I wanted nothing more than Ms. Li being replaced as soon as possible, but I didn’t have the courage to write the letter to report her again. Even simply to avoid offending the brothers and sisters who were hosting us, I didn’t dare expose Ms. Li’s behavior. But in my heart, I condemned and accused myself. I wondered how I could be so cowardly and useless. I saw a false leader disturbing the work of the church and didn’t dare report it. I didn’t even dare speak the truth. Wasn’t I just Satan’s slave? I thought of a passage of God’s word, “All of you say you are considerate of God’s burden and will defend the testimony of the church, but who among you has really been considerate of God’s burden? Ask yourself: Are you someone who has shown consideration for His burden? Can you practice righteousness for Him? Can you stand up and speak for Me? Can you steadfastly put the truth into practice? Are you bold enough to fight against all of Satan’s deeds? Would you be able to set your emotions aside and expose Satan for the sake of My truth? Can you allow My intentions to be fulfilled in you? Have you offered up your heart in the most crucial of moments? Are you someone who does My will? Ask yourself these questions, and think about them often” (“Chapter 13” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in). What God’s word revealed made me feel embarrassed and ashamed. Normally, I was good at yelling out catchphrases, saying I would be considerate of God’s will and would stand witness for God, and I often prayed, saying I wanted to love and satisfy God, but the moment something actually happened and I was called on to stand up and protect the interests of God’s house, I pulled my head back into my shell. I clearly knew that God’s earnest desire is to banish false leaders and antichrists, and I had discernment about Ms. Li, but because I was afraid of being suppressed and dismissed, I allowed her to continue harming and deceiving our brothers and sisters in the church and didn’t dare to report her. Even worse was the fact that when I saw the brothers and sisters who hosted me deceived by Ms. Li, I didn’t think of how to help them gain discernment of the false leader. Instead, I made compromises. For fear that exposing Ms. Li would make them unhappy and that they would no longer host us, to ensure that my fleshly interests would not be harmed, I stayed silent about Ms. Li’s false leadership behaviors. I reflected on my behaviors and saw that I truly was selfish and despicable. To protect myself, I allowed a false leader to hold power in the church and disrupt church work without doing anything about it. I enjoyed everything God supplied me with and was hosted and cared for by my brothers and sisters, yet I didn’t protect the work of God’s house. I acted as if it had nothing to do with me and it was not my responsibility. How could I call this conscience or reason? I reflected on my state and behaviors and felt very guilty and ashamed. I saw that I was actually a person who was selfish, despicable, cunning, and deceitful. I was completely unworthy to live before God!
After that, I read a passage in God’s word. “God’s family does not allow those who do not practice the truth to remain, nor does it allow to remain those who deliberately dismantle the church. However, now is not the time to do the work of expulsion; such people will simply be exposed and eliminated in the end. No more useless work is to be expended on these people; those who belong to Satan cannot stand on the side of the truth, whereas those who seek the truth can. People who do not practice the truth are unworthy of hearing the way of the truth and unworthy of bearing witness to the truth. The truth is simply not for their ears; rather, it is directed at those who practice it. Before every person’s end is revealed, those who disturb the church and interrupt God’s work will first be left aside for now, to be dealt with later. Once the work is complete, these people will each be exposed, and then they will be eliminated. For the time being, while the truth is being provided, they will be ignored. When the whole truth is revealed to humanity, those people should be eliminated; that will be the time when all people will be classed according to their kind. The petty tricks of those without discernment will lead to their destruction at the hands of the wicked, they will be lured away by them, never to return. And such treatment is what they deserve, because they do not love the truth, because they are incapable of standing on the side of the truth, because they follow evil people and stand on the side of evil people, and because they collude with evil people and defy God. They know perfectly well that what those evil people radiate is evil, yet they harden their hearts and turn their backs on the truth to follow them. Are these people who do not practice the truth but who do destructive and abominable things not all committing evil? Although there are those among them who style themselves as kings and others who follow them, are their God-defying natures not all the same? What excuse can they have to claim that God does not save them? What excuse can they have to claim that God is not righteous? Is it not their own evil that is destroying them? Is it not their own rebelliousness that is dragging them down into hell? People who practice the truth will, in the end, be saved and made perfect because of the truth. Those who do not practice the truth will, in the end, bring destruction upon themselves because of the truth. These are the ends that await those who practice the truth and those who do not” (“A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading God’s word, I saw that I was the type of person who doesn’t practice the truth revealed by God’s word. I was someone who God despised. In everything, I tried to preserve and protect myself. Faced with a false leader, I dared not practice the truth and report her. Was I not simply kneeling to Satan and colluding with Satan to resist God? Outwardly, I wasn’t standing with Ms. Li and protecting her, but I saw a false leader and didn’t report or expose her. I allowed her to confuse and deceive the brothers and sisters in the church and disturb and disrupt church work. By doing this, I was standing on Satan’s side and helping Satan’s evil forces.say: “They know perfectly well that what those evil people radiate is evil, yet they harden their hearts and turn their backs on the truth to follow them. Are these people who do not practice the truth but who do destructive and abominable things not all committing evil?” (“A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words revealed precisely what I did. I thought of how the said, “He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathers not with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:30). In the battle between God and Satan, not standing on God’s side is to stand on Satan’s side. There is no middle ground. But I was trying to be clever, to be neutral, to protect myself. How was this any different from choosing Satan’s side and betraying God? In the past, I thought many people lacked discernment of Ms. Li, but once God had completely revealed her and the time was right, she would naturally be replaced. Outwardly, that idea seemed very reasonable, but actually I was avoiding my responsibility. It was nothing but an excuse to avoid practicing the truth. The essence of what I did was to condone the evil and disruption of a false leader in the church. At that moment, I saw that my brothers and sisters could be deceived and controlled by false leaders and antichrists, and that there is no release when they live under Satan’s dark influence. This evil done by false leaders and antichrists is also caused by those of us who have discernment of false leaders and antichrists but don’t report or expose them. It wouldn’t be over the line to call me a false leader’s accomplice. Thinking of all this made me miserable. I hated myself for being so selfish, despicable, weak, and incompetent. I was useless, a worthless slave! I had no testimony at all in the war against evil. I had become what God hates! I came before God and prayed to repent. I asked God for the strength to break through the dark forces of the false leaders and antichrists, to truly stand on God’s side, and to say “no” to the forces of Satan. At the time, I wanted to write the letter reporting Ms. Li after I found more proof. But before I could, the church investigated and determined Ms. Li was a false leader who took the path of an antichrist and replaced her in her duties. It was only then that I learned our original letter to report her had been intercepted and detained by another false leader. That false leader was also replaced for not doing practical work. We were very happy to hear this news at the time, but I also felt guilty, as if I owed a debt, because I had failed to protect the work of God’s house or stand witness in this environment.
After Ms. Li was replaced, a new church leader took over church work, and I thought that was the end of this business, but it turned out not to be. One day, a little over a month later, the sister I was partnered with returned from outside and told me that Ms. Li was still obstinate after being replaced. She was still spreading notions among the brothers and sisters to deceive them and win their sympathy, and was forming a clique around herself to have the new leader recalled so she could retake her position as leader. When I heard about this, I was dumbfounded. What could I do? I had to find a way to tell our leaders about Ms. Li’s evil behaviors as soon as possible. Fortunately, we had a chance to meet with the new church leaders, and they were also discussing writing a letter reporting Ms. Li’s situation to their leaders and were trying to decide how to clearly explain the situation. I told them it would be easy for us to write the letter and suggested they let us write it, and they happily agreed. The next day, after my partner and I finished writing the report letter and were getting ready to send it to the leaders for review and verification, my partner suddenly said, “Sign our names on the letter too.” I was stunned when I heard that. I had only thought about helping them write the letter. I hadn’t considered signing my own name to it. When my partner said that, my desire to protect myself emerged again. I thought, “Ms. Li and her clique are vicious, insidious, and they know how to deceive others. If we failed to banish them this time, and Li somehow managed to retake power and become a church leader again, what would happen to us? Given Ms. Li’s history of abusing her power by expelling those she resented, if she regained power, she would definitely have us replaced in our duties, sent home, or even expelled. If that happened, wouldn’t I have believed in God in vain? Would I ever gain salvation? But without signing the letter, it wouldn’t be credible, because we wrote it as surrogates.” I thought for a moment, and then said to my partner, “Then let’s sign the letter as surrogates.” The truth is that I wanted to maintain a certain distance from this matter so that if what I was afraid of really happened, I would be able to protect myself. Even if I was suppressed, it wouldn’t be as harshly. At that moment, my partner dealt with me, “Why is it so hard to put your name on this letter? You’re being so cunning!” That remark cut deeply into my heart. I realized God was using my partner to deal with me, and to remind me not to try to protect myself or be cunning anymore, that I had to practice the truth and be an honest person.
Later, I reflected on myself. Why was it, I asked myself, that every time something happened involving the interests of God’s house which required me to express my opinion, I became afraid, shrunk back, and tried to protect myself? What nature was controlling me when I did this?says, “Satan corrupts people through the education and influence of national governments and of the famous and great. Their devilish words have become man’s life nature. ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’ is a well-known satanic saying that has been instilled into everyone, and that has become man’s life. There are other words of philosophies for living that are also like this. Satan uses each nation’s traditional culture to educate, deceive, and corrupt people, causing mankind to fall into and be engulfed by a boundless abyss of destruction, and in the end people are destroyed by God because they serve Satan and resist God. Imagine asking someone who has been active in society for decades the following question: ‘Given that you have lived in the world for so long and achieved so much, what are the main famous sayings that you live by?’ He might say, ‘The most important one is, “Officials do not make things difficult for those who bear gifts, and those who do not flatter accomplish nothing.”’ Are these words not representative of that person’s nature? Unscrupulously using any means to obtain position has become his nature, officialdom and career success are his life. There are still many satanic poisons in people’s lives, in their conduct and behavior. For example, their philosophies for living, their ways of doing things, and their maxims are all filled with the poisons of the great red dragon, and they all come from Satan. Thus, all things that flow through people’s bones and blood are all things of Satan. … Mankind has been profoundly corrupted by Satan. Satan’s venom flows through the blood of every person, and it can be seen that man’s nature is corrupt, evil, and reactionary, filled by and immersed in the philosophies of Satan—it is, in its entirety, a nature that betrays God. This is why people resist God and stand in opposition to God” (“How to Know Man’s Nature” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). As I read God’s word, I saw that I didn’t dare to confront false leaders and antichrists because my nature was full of satanic logic, laws, and worldly philosophies such as “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “The less trouble, the better,” and “Sensible people are good at self-protection, seeking only to avoid making mistakes.” There’s also “Each person sweeps the snow from their own doorsteps; they do not bother with the frost on their neighbor’s roof.” Because I lived by these satanic poisons, I was especially selfish, despicable, cowardly, and deceitful. In everything, the first thing I considered was my own gains and losses. I recalled how, when I first wanted to report Ms. Li, I didn’t dare to do it because I wanted to protect myself. Now, Ms. Li was forming a clique in the church to contend for power and disrupting and disturbing church work, and I still lacked the courage to stand up and practice the truth. I pulled my head into my shell to hide like a turtle, terrified that the moment I showed my head, I would be punished if I was discovered by the false leader and antichrist. God’s will was that these satanic types and antichrist demons who contended for fame and fortune and disrupted church work be expelled from the church so that God’s chosen people could be protected from being deceived and church work would not be disturbed. But I was constantly too worried about things. None of my concerns were considerate of God’s will. I thought only of how to prevent my own interests from being harmed. I was so selfish and despicable! In name, I believed in God and followed God, but there was no place for God at all in my heart. I even viewed God’s house as society, as a place without fairness or righteousness where I had to constantly be cautious and learn to protect myself, or else run the risk of being suppressed and punished, which is why I chose to use Satan’s philosophies to protect myself. But that viewpoint was nothing but blasphemy! God’s house is not the outside world. The wicked rule in the world, evil is rampant, and the good can only be bullied and oppressed, but God’s house is ruled by Christ, the truth, and righteousness. False leaders and antichrists find no place to stand in God’s house, and as God’s chosen people gain understanding of the truth and discernment, they are revealed, reported, exposed, banished, and eliminated. This is God’s righteousness. God’s words say: “The wicked will surely be punished” (“The Wicked Will Surely Be Punished” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s word is the truth and the practical evidence of God’s work. Thinking back on this more than half a year, I had also seen real examples of false leaders and antichrists being replaced and expelled. Was this not God’s righteousness? But at the time, I was completely blinded. I solely considered my own interests. I believed in God, but didn’t believe in God’s word, His faithfulness, or His righteousness. I even saw God from the viewpoint of the unbelievers. I saw that I was nothing but a nonbeliever, and what I did offended God’s disposition. If I continued to live by these satanic philosophies and laws, didn’t pursue dispositional change, and didn’t practice the truth, in the end I would be condemned and eliminated by God. As I thought of these things, I realized I should fulfill my duties and responsibilities to the utmost, and even if one day I was suppressed or expelled by false leaders and antichrists, there would be lessons for me to learn and God’s good intentions in it. Once I understood this, in a spirit of frankness, I signed my name to the report letter. In that moment, I felt safe and at peace, and also a sense of pride. I felt I had finally stood up and became a decent person.
About a month or so later, the good news we were waiting for finally came. Ms. Li had done so many wicked deeds and refused to change, so she was defined as an antichrist and completely expelled from the church. Those evildoers who followed Ms. Li in her evil deeds and disrupting church work were also expelled. Some who showed expressions of repentance were not classed as evildoers, and were allowed to stay in the church and given a chance to repent. A chaos that had continued for several months finally came to an end, and normal church life resumed. I was very happy to see this result, but I also felt remorse and regret, because in the matter of reporting the false leader and antichrist, I failed to genuinely stand witness. What was exposed in me were only cunning satanic dispositions, selfishness and despicableness, and my desire to protect myself. I even doubted God’s righteousness and the rule of truth in God’s house. A large portion of me was still a nonbeliever. I saw that I was deeply corrupt and that I owed God so much. So, I swore an oath that the next time something like this happened, I would stand on God’s side.
I was surprised when, four years later, something similar happened again. The leaders of my church, Mr. Wang and two others, because they spoke of letters and doctrines and did not do practical work, were condemned as false leaders and dismissed, and God’s house temporarily sent two leaders to our church to take over. When these two sisters came, Mr. Wang said our church doesn’t take “charity handouts.” It means he didn’t accept the two sisters transferred from outside to be our leaders and he wanted to take back power. He and several church deacons started to look for excuses to attack the two new leaders, and wheedled other brothers and sisters into standing on their side and writing report letters about the new leaders. Later, they also asked me to help report the new leaders. At the time, as I read the report letter they wrote, I saw that some of the so-called evidence of wicked deeds they provided were actually just normal examples of exposing corruption, not wicked deeds at all, in others they were outright exaggeration, and some were plainly false accusations and lies that distorted the facts. Their condemnations in the letter were overblown, wanton, and vicious. That was when I realized the real purpose of their report letter wasn’t to protect the work of God’s house, banish false leaders, or protect God’s chosen people, it was to seize power, retake their positions as church leaders, control the church, and control God’s chosen people. Afterward, based on the principles of discerning antichrists, I determined they were antichrists. At first, I wanted to stay out of the matter, because aside from the leaders who were replaced, the others involved in the report letter were currently serving as deacons and group leaders, while I was just an ordinary believer with no status to speak of, so these were hardly people I could afford to offend. But as I thought of how Ms. Li was reported and banished several years before, and how I had no real testimony, I decided not to hide or shrink back again. So, I fellowshiped with the brothers and sisters around me so that they could clearly understand the real goals and intentions of the people who wrote this report letter and have discernment about them. After that, I exposed the evil deeds they did to contend for power and reported them to God’s house. Following that, God’s house investigated and verified the situation, determined that these people were antichrists and expelled them from the church. When I saw that the notice expelling this group of antichrists contained some evidence I supplied, I was very happy, and also comforted. I felt honored at having lived up to my responsibilities in this matter.
Experiencing these things allowed me to see the marvelous wisdom of God's work! God arranges false leaders and antichrists so that we can develop discernment. Once we clearly understand how false leaders and antichrists deceive others to contend for power, how they disrupt and ruin the work of God’s house, and how, step by step, they are revealed and expelled, we gain some knowledge of God’s righteous disposition, we see how God’s house is ruled by Christ and the truth, we see that God’s righteousness and holiness brook no offense, and we generate hearts that fear God. The experience of their failure also serves as a warning to us not to follow the path of the antichrist, but more importantly, when false leaders and antichrists appear, we should practice the truth and protect the work of God’s house. Experiencing these things allowed me to see the marvelous wisdom of God’s work!