Notes 91 and 131 - Expulsion of Saints from Churches
Statement from Ambato, Ecuador, October 24, 2007:
In 2003 Brothers Valdemar Quintero and Rodrigo López were removed from the work and prohibited from visiting the churches because they expressed their desire for Brother Benson Phillips to come to share in a conference in Ecuador. We were also told that we were not capable of receiving the word of the ministry because we were children. Brothers Valdemar and Rodrigo were accused of being rebellious, ambitious, and divisive.
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Jorge Navas et al, Letter to Guayaquil, Ecuador, February 2005:
Brothers, on January 30th, in fellowship with the brothers in charge of the work in Ecuador and the responsible brothers of the Church in Guayaquil, brothers Jose Bermeo, Luis Maldonado and Stalyn Martinez manifested before us their free will to separate from the spiritual orientation of brother Dong Yu Lan, the orientation that the church in Guayaquil has followed since its beginning. For this reason, the ones who sign the present document, with delegated authority, announce that:
- We reject the attitude of these brothers.
- They are temporarily excluded from the fellowship of the church
Because of this we ask the saints:
- That all would abstain from having fellowship with them so that you are not affected by their attitude.
- To pray for their repentance.
- To keep ourselves in subjection and fellowship with the brothers whom the Lord put to lead the church, maintaining fellowship with those that practice the church life under the leadership of the responsible brothers, national coworkers and coworkers for all of South America.
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Four brothers from Milagro, Ecuador, were cut off from the fellowship of the church for taking approximately 80 saints to attend a conference in the church in Ambato in which Brothers Sterling Byassee and Eric Romero spoke. They had informed the leading ones in Milagro of their intention to attend the conference, but the elders "objected to it and even forbade the church to go to the conference by saying that the conference was outside of the fellowship with the churches in South America. They also accused the church in Ambato, Ecuador, of being a division because they do not follow brother Dong Yu Lan's orientation." When they went anyway, they were cut off from the fellowship of the church and barred from entering the meeting hall. ("Concerning the Excommunication of Saints in Milagro, Ecuador", October 2007)
After the trips to Tacna, Arequipa, and for the conference in Huacho (in order to take the brothers to this city) they paid their transportation and went to the houses of ma[n]y saints giving notice that there was no more authority in the church in Lima, that brothers Andrés Capillo and Adrián Matta had been removed and this was known by some brothers.
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Letter from Andrés Capillo and Adrián Matta, October 22, 2007:
When Brothers Dong Yu Lan, Ezra Ma, and Roberto Graner arrived in Lima prior to the conference in Huacho, they had private meetings with some brothers from the church in Breña to inform them that there was no longer any authority in the church in Lima and that Brothers Andrés and Adrián had been removed as the responsible brothers.
Dong Yu Lan has repeatedly cut off workers in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This has caused much confusion there. At separate times, Brothers Chang Shih-Shih, Oscar Calles, and Eduardo Kalaidjian have been cut off. In each case, some saints did not agree with Dong Yu Lan's action, resulting in multiple divisions in Buenos Aires. (Sources: Interview with James Chang, August 2, 2007; Testimony of Eduardo Kalaidjian, October 24, 2007; Statement of Walter Ortiz, October 29, 2007)
Letter from Walter Ortiz, October 29, 2007:
In 2002 the son-in-law of Brother Eduardo Kalaidjian (Brother Eduardo at that time was the national coworker in Argentina for Brother Dong) passed away in a tragic accident. Two young people from the church in Mendoza also died in the same accident. They were returning from a young people's conference in Buenos Aires. The brothers sent me to console Brother Eduardo and to stand with the church there. This was the reason for my trip to Argentina. When I called Eduardo, he asked me to come a week later, and by that time he had arranged some visits to other churches. While visiting some of the churches during the week of the trip, we discovered that an e-mail was sent to all the churches in Argentina, from a brother named Mario, a doctor, charging the churches not to receive me. I remember that it read: Do not receive Brother Walter Ortiz because he has another orientation and may cause confusion. Of course, Eduardo realized that this was not right, and he planned to let Brother Dong know about this matter so that he could correct it. He was expecting Brother Dong to correct the situation at the International Training for Elders and Responsible Ones (ITERO) that was going to be held in Brazil that fall. When he got there, he was surprised that Brother Dong did not allow him to enter into the South American co-workers' meetings, alleging that Brother Eduardo was not one soul with him.
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Letter from Eduardo Kalaidjian, October 24, 2007:
In 2002, after returning from a young people's conference to their cities, my daughter, her husband, and two young people from the church in Mendoza had an accident in which the two young people and my daughter's husband died. When the blended brothers found out about it, they sent Brother Walter Ortiz to Buenos Aires. Wanting to make the most of his visit and knowing that he was in charge of the Spanish radio program, we scheduled visits to some of the churches in order to let them know about the program so that they could be edified and the word of the ministry could be propagated. We were welcomed by some of the localities, but others were influenced by the brothers in Brazil and rejected our visit, saying that they were faithful followers of Brother Dong Yu Lan's ministry and wouldn't accept any other teaching. Because of all this, we wrote a clear and serious letter to Brother Dong. In September 2002, at the conference at Estância Árvore da Vida, my son and I—Brother Dong's co-workers—were cut off from the fellowship of all the churches and declared rebels. They didn't allow us to be in the co-workers' meeting. We are thankful to the Lord that shortly after that incident, there was the International Training for Elders and Responsible Ones in Brazil, and the presence of the brothers from the United States comforted us.
Josué de Carvalho, Floriano, Brazil, E-mail dated April 2, 2008:
Last weekend, when Joel from Fortaleza got to know that I went to the Conference in Nova Iguaçu, he quickly set up a conference. The main point of the conference was to speak about the brothers from United States, and he started with strong criticism of many things and many brothers, including myself. He said that I have betrayed him.I answered him back saying that I did not have any obligation towards him, but towards the truth. I asked him about all the things concerning this work which is isolated from the body. He got very angry. He asked me to promise him to no longer to hear anyone from the United States. However, I had to confront him. I told him that this is practically impossible. Since we are connected to the Body, how can we be separated? Then he, in the conference meeting told all the brothers to be careful of me and told them not to receive me into their houses.
Ambato, Ecuador – After Dong Yu Lan visited a Christian group in Ambato in December 2004, he met with 10 saints from Ambato who had attended the conference and told them that "he had begotten the church in this locality and that now a miniscule group of brothers, called responsible brothers, had rejected him; therefore, there was no longer authority in the church, he no recognized the responsible brothers and he stated that now the church in this locality had become a local sect. Thus, these 10 brothers are now the local church and they can beginning breaking bread from that week onward..." "We must also note the factious work that brother Jorge Navas and brother Ernesto Oñate, coworkers of brother Dong, are doing not only in this locality [but also in others] by visiting the brothers house to house and rejecting the delegated authority of the church..." (Based on a letter to all the co-workers and the churches in the Lord's recovery from the church in Ambato, Ecuador, December 2004)
Guayaquil, Ecuador – When the responsible brothers indicated their desire to remain in the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, Jorge Navas, Brother Dong's national co-worker over Ecuador, announced that they "were no longer responsible brothers," that they "could look for another place to meet," and that four other brothers would now be responsible brothers. The leading brothers who had been publicly removed from responsibility in the church reported that Brother Dong's workers "traveled to the homes of the saints to tell them not to have fellowship with us." (Based on a letter from the church in Guayaquil, Ecuador, February 2, 2005; and a letter from Stalyn Martínez, José Bermeo, and Luis Maldonado of the church in Guayaquil, October 29, 2007).
Lima, Peru – In 2004 Brother Dong held a conference in Huacho, Peru, instead of Lima, claiming that the brothers in Lima were not one with him. Only a few brothers from Lima attended the conference. "When Brothers Dong Yu Lan, Ezra Ma, and Roberto Graner arrived in Lima prior to the conference in Huacho, they had private meetings with some brothers from the church in Breña to inform them that there was no longer any authority in the church in Lima and that Brothers Andrés and Adrián had been removed as the responsible brothers." (Letter from Andrés Capillo and Adrián Matta, October 22, 2007). "The last day of the conference in Huacho, on Sunday afternoon, brother Dong called all the brothers of Lima to a meeting, among them were brothers of the provinces that had attended the conference. In this meeting brother Dong acted in an unrecognizable way exposing the responsible brothers of the church in Lima, without having had fellowship with them, thus breaking all principles..." The improper accusations made against Andrés Capillo in that meeting included allegations of condoning immorality, financial improprieties, and ambition. (Based on a letter from Lima, October 16, 2004).
Tuluá, Colombia – The leading brothers in the church in Tuluá, Colombia, supported the principle of one publication. Two brothers, supported by Dong Yu Lan's co-workers, set up a rival table meeting claiming that "there are no patterns to follow in the church in Tuluá and that the church allows sinners to take the lead" and "that there are no elders in the church in Tuluá because the existing ones do not meet the requirements." The leadings ones in Tuluá wrote: "It is terribly sad that these dissenting brothers have received the support of and encouragement from Brother Dong's co-workers." (Based on a letter from the leading brothers in Tuluá, Colombia, October 25, 2007).
Nova Iguaçu, Brazil – When the responsible brothers in the church in Nova Iguaçu decided to "no longer follow the regional work of brother Dong Yu Lan," "Brother Dong and his co-workers reacted in November 2006 by appointing different brothers to be the responsible ones in the church here and establishing a second Lord's Table in this locality" (Statement from the responsible brothers in Nova Iguaçu, Brazil, October 25, 2007). Two of Brother Dong's workers came on Wednesday, October 4, 2006, to the house of Brother Natalino without any previous fellowship with the responsible brothers of the church in that city, and held a meeting with a goal we knew nothing about. In the course of the meeting, they compelled some brothers that were there to take a stand that either, in the words used by [one of Brother Dong's workers], 'you will be on the side of Brother Manoel (who was not a responsible brother) or on the side of brother Genodir', thus sowing division in the church." (Based on a letter from Osterne Fausto to workers in Rio de Janeiro, October 17, 2006).
Churches in southern Chile – In 2007 a large number of churches in southern Chile turned away from Dong Yu Lan's ministry. The immediate response of Brother Dong was to instruct his co-workers to "travel to the south to visit the churches. We need to let the churches know that the ones from Laodicea left the position of Philadelphia." ("The Orientations of Brother Dong, to be put into effect now, through his son Andre, July 16, 2007"). In a letter to André Dong, brother Miguel Angel Lagos, a leading one in the church in Los Angeles, Chile, said: "In addition, we know that there's a group of brothers, composed of brother Dong's local and overseas co-workers, traveling cities and visiting brothers from the central southern churches with the authorization to hold meetings with whoever wants to meet with them." (E-mail from Miguel Angel Lagos Sotos to André Dong, July 23, 2007; see notes 87-89 and 92) André Dong responded: "What did you expect? Juan renounced. Our work now is to take care of the Southern churches that cannot be abandoned as sheep with no Shepherd as well as find out who want to positively follow the ministry of Spirit and Life. There's nothing wrong with that." (E-mail from André Dong to Miguel Angel Lagos, July 23, 2007
São Paulo, Brazil – In 2005 three long-time elders of the church in São Paulo —David Franco, Laerte Salvador, and Fernando Monte-Serrat—were removed from the eldership for not being "one with the apostle." These brothers had objected to certain unrighteous and unscriptural practices in the administration of the church. When they sought fellowship with the ones who had been their fellow elders, they were told that their request would only be granted "if they first absolutely submitted themselves, without any restriction, to Brother Dong and to his ministry." (Letter from Fernando Monte-Serrat, October 26, 2007) They were publicly labeled as "rebels," "traitors," and were shunned to the extent that the saints would not greet them or their wives, and even their own relatives in the churches would not receive them in their homes or speak with them.
- On March 21-23, 2008, Josué de Carvalho, a responsible brother in the church in Floriano, Brazil, attended the conference given by Sherman Robertson and Gary Kaiser in Nova de Iguaçu.
- On March 29-30, 2008, Joel de Souza Ferreira, one of Dong Yu Lan's co-workers, called a gathering in Floriano to publicly dismiss Josué as a responsible brother in the church and to prohibit fellowship with him because he had attended the conference in Nova Iguaçu and maintained fellowship with David Franco, Eric Romero, and Laerte Salvador.
- Threats were made and a curse of unemployment and misery was pronounced against Josué and his family.
- That Monday Josué lost his job in a suspicious manner. Josué's wife was dismissed from the literature work by Joel, thus "fulfilling" the "curse of unemployment."
- During a gathering in April Joel implored the brothers to continue to ostracize and pressure Josué. There was a prophecy that the family would suffer an accident.
(Based on a statement from Josué de Carvalho, April 2008).
Francisco de Aquino Ribeiro, Vila Velha, Brazil - Brother Aquino has been in the Lord's recovery for over 30 years. He has been an elder for many years in Vila Velha. He assisted in the proofreading of the Portuguese Recovery Version. While he was participating in the proofreading, Brother Dong's main worker in the area moved a worker to Vila Velha to take Aquino's place. When Aquino returned, this co-worker denounced him as a leper because he had worked with the translators of the Recovery Version. (Based on an interview with Francisco Aquino, May 2008).