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The Walk of John Robert Stevens

Also known as the Church of the Living Word, this cult is led by "Apostle" John Robert Stevens. At least 100 churches in the United States are allied with this "restoration movement."

Although The Walk publicly denies sanctioning any extrabiblical revelation, Stevens claims that "God has given the apostolic ministry a unique ability to break into new levels in God and then impart them to the people." The elite members of the organization are known as the "apostolic company, " and they reportedly receive "new levels of revelation" on a regular basis. All members of The Walk are expected to submit to such revelations.

Stevens, like many other cult leaders, is extremely intolerant of individuality. He wrote a book in 1977 called "From Many Comes One, " in which he claims that "the day of individuality is ending. Christ is coming to be glorified in His saints, not that a lot of individuals will be running around with Christ glorified in them, but that they will lose their own identity as saints...God does not seem interested in giving His people anything as individuals to make them happy and contented... God does not want to protract the problem of individuality." From an orthodox Christian standpoint, Stevens' description of Christ is disturbingly similar to that of "Big Brother" of George Orwell's "1984."

Stevens also places a strong emphasis on authority and subjection, and exhorts members of the cult to totally submit to himself and the "apostolic company, " using the rationale of "Divine Right" used by kings in the Middle Ages to cement their authority over their subjects: "Those who are submissive will accept a word of authority over them, even when that word is wrong...If the Lord has revealed the authority over you, you can be submissive, even when the authority deviates from the will of God. In other words, you can receive some wrong words of direction and still be a winner." One pastor in The Walk even claimed that he "would follow Brother Stevens to hell" and be honored by God for submitting to the will of Stevens.

The Walk is also involved in psychic and borderline occult practices. Stevens tells his followers that "In your present state, even though you are a Christian, your eyes are still not seeing the spirit world, your ears are not hearing the spirit world...You must work your way up to the higher plane." Members of the cult practice such rituals as the "glory chain, " which can supposedly be used to transfer God's blessings through people. This is done by placing the right hand, palm up, underneath another cultist's left hand (also palm up) and transferring the blessing through the back of his hand. Stevens also teaches that astral projection can be performed, and cites I Corinthians 5:3-4 for support, claiming that Paul was able to project his soul to Corinth from a distant point.

Martha Stevens, who was married to Apostle Stevens for 40 years, filed for divorce in 1979. During the proceedings, she revealed that Stevens' holdings could amount to $40 million. A California newspaper then launched an investigation of the Church of the Living Word, and learned that it had conducted a Nevada silver mine fraud that allegedly cheated members of the cult out of at least $500, 000. Stevens also possessed an extensive art collection and $29, 000 in silver bars, and hired an attorney for the divorce suit, paying him $10,000 plus $125 per hour. Martha claims, "My husband has total control of the church and its funds, and total access to all church finances. He is, in essence, the church himself."