Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Who are the Liites? (I)

The Liites are a dangerous cult that take the basic doctrines of Chinese folk Buddhism and cloak them in Christian terminology. It was founded in Los Angeles, California in 1963 by Chang-Shou Li, a Chinese national who is known to Liites as Witness Lee. Shunning public exposure, Liites strenuously avoid identifying themselves in any way to outsiders. Among themselves they call the organization the "Lord's Recovery" or simply the "church." Among outsiders they are often called the "Local Church."

The Liite organization is totalist and all power is centralized in its headquarters, the Living Stream Ministry (LSM) of 2431 W La Palma Avenue, Anaheim, California. The LSM runs its own publishing operation and maintains tight control of subsidiaries throughout the world called "local churches." The LSM enforces a strict monopoly of all printed and recorded materials for sale and for use in worship. The LSM also closely supervises all religious doctrines and rituals through control of regional and local leadership, through periodic mass meetings called "conferences," through periodic and year-round indoctrination camps called "trainings," and by enforcing mandatory tax-deductible donations from members and distribution outlets.

Although Liites cherish their secrecy, they can easily find other distribution outlets by looking in a phone book for "The Church in" followed by the name of a major city.