Q: Do LFF ushers carry guns?
A: No, they do not. I was an usher once upon a time and I never encountered another usher with a gun. I know that many people in Eastern Washington have concealed weapons permits, but I highly doubt that anyone would carry a gun in church.
Q: Are LFF ushers involved with any other suspicious activities?
A: Yes, they are. Whenever a suspicious-looking character comes to church, an usher is assigned to watch them for the entire service. The usher will sit near the person in question, and keep tabs on him. The funny thing is, if Jesus Christ were to come to church at LFF, they would surely put an usher on him. He would be labeled a crazy person, and if he came in with any of the low-life type people Jesus tended to spend his time with, the usher teams would go crazy. I must mention that usually this is done with fairly good intentions. There are young children who walk around the church unsupervised, and go use restrooms in the buildings vestibules, right by exit doors that are not visible unless you are by the restrooms, and ushers want to make sure that women and children are not vulnerable to kidnap or attack. One other thing ushers were always doing was counting. They counted everyone. They kept detailed records of the numbers of people who attended church every week, including the numbers in each nursery. They also counted every single car in the parking lot, both upper and lower lots. Why? I have no idea.
Q: Does LFF keep files on their members?
A: Yes, they do. They used to keep paper files, now every thing is done digitally, so there is no paper trail. There is a whole system of keeping track of what is going on. Attendees and members should always be aware that when they are talking to someone in leadership, whether it be a Bible study leader, small group leader, or pastor, things you say may be written down and reported to higher leadership, and may find their way into your LFF file. For a full post on the LFF file systems, please click here.
Q: Is it true that they have arranged marriages at Living Faith?
A: No, not exactly. They do not arrange marriages per se, but they do get very involved with relationships. If they feel that your significant other and you do not make a good match, they try and do everything they can to stop your union. I have seen many couples fall victim to enormous pressure from the leadership to separate. It usually starts at the top and the head pastors advise that couple's "direct oversight" to tell the couple to "seek God more," to see what His will is. If they still think they should get married, the leadership will meet with them over and over telling them that there is sin in their lives and they need to pray more because the leaders are not hearing the same thing. They attempt to plant seeds and induce stress to cripple any relationship that is not deemed divine by those who know more about what is best for you than you. On the other hand, I have witnessed situations where couples were encouraged to pursure relationship by their leadership past the point of mutual affection. For whatever reason, the leadership felt that the two should become one, and in these cases the relationships "bore good fruit" and the leadership made sure they stayed together. One troubling case was when one of the pastors' daughters was nearly forced on a certain guy I knew. The guy was a strong-willed person, and thankfully saw what was happening and got out before it was too late.
Q: A friend of mine told me that the church cost over 8 million dollars, and has over 2,000 seats...why would anybody need a church so big, especially in pullman?
A: Yes, that is true. The church cost somewhere between 7.5 and 9 million dollars. And there is seating for 2200 people. However, a lot of that seating is not open during services because there is no one to put in all that space. As to the idea behind building something so large and so expensive...Arrogance! There is absolutely no reason to build something on that grand a scale in a sleepy little town. The building is impractical, and a true waste of money. It serves mostly as a trophy to LFF; a building which many have likened to the golden calf from days of old. When you visit the LFF website, the building's image jumps out at you. It is the focal point of the page. In addition, they print a picture of the building on most of the literature they pass out. You will find its image grace your church bulletin, your message notes, your Easter invites, CCF posters, and pretty much everything they put in your hands. Truly megalomaniacal. It is sad that they have heaped such a huge financial burden on their members. As many have said before, that money could have done a lot of good and helped many needy people. Instead, it serves only to otiosely proclaim the greatness of a diminishing congregation.
Q: Is it true that LFF members are required to turn over their entire paychecks to the church, and then the church will give them what they see fit? Is that how they pay tithe?
A: LFF teaches, in the introductory classes to the church (formerly known as Going for the Gold and now The Carpenter Series), that the Biblical amount of one's income that should be given to the Lord in tithe is 23.3%. That is twenty-three and one-third percent. They teach that the Bible shows precedence for this through the requirement of three separate tithes: 1. The Levitical Tithe--the 10% that all traditional churches believe in. 2. A "Worship Tithe" which accounts for an additional 10%. 3. An "Alms Tithe" for the poor and needy, which is an additional 10%. The "Alms Tithe" is to be given every third year, but LFF splits it up into three chunks, therby achieving the additional 3.3%. LFF also teaches that the 23.3% tithe is to be taken off the gross income (before tax) of an attendee--not the net (after tax). While it is certainly Biblical that people can give as much as they want to God, as an act of worship to Him--truly the purpose of the tithe--the fact that LFF requires the full tithe of their members is ludicrous. They keep records of the giving of their members, and make sure that all those in regular attendance fulfill the requirement. They have people who will periodically check the "giving records" and communicate with the appropriate leadership of an erring member to make sure the full tithe is reinstated. The "act of worship" of tithing has been largely removed for most members, as they must now learn how to cope with less money to live on.