LC: 28. PROCEDURES FOR ACCEPTING NEW DISCIPLES INTO A CHARTER HOME
When a person joins the Charter Family, he or she moves into a Charter Home and becomes an integral part and influence on the Home that they join, and eventually on other Homes as well. Thus someone accepted as a new disciple into a Charter Home must meet certain general criteria.
A. The final decision of whether and when a potential disciple is accepted into the Charter Family rests with the Home that the new disciple joins. Acceptance is determined by a two-thirds majority vote, providing all the requirements listed in point B. of this section have been met, and the Home has prayed and received confirmation from the Lord.
Taking a new disciple into the Charter Family is an important decision that should be made in united prayer and counsel with the whole Home. It is imperative to always seek the Lord for His approval and confirmation through prophecy, visions or verses, asking the Lord to clearly and specifically speak, putting His stamp of approval on it.--Or to stop you if He doesn't want that person to join as a full-time Charter Member. Since you are making the final decision to allow this person to join--not just your Home but the overall Family--receiving such confirmation from the Lord is extremely important.
Some factors the Home will want to take into consideration are:
--The degree of the prospective disciple's commitment and desire to reach others for Jesus
--Their background, including any serious problems that would hinder their service for the Lord
--Their legal situation: marital obligations, military obligations, etc.
--Any problems with relatives or associates
--Their financial obligations and debts
--Health and any medical concerns
We should never let these guys in the door to move in until we know something about them and we've got a real conviction that they've really got the goods! It's a whole lot harder to get rid of them than it is to take them in. ... The Colony Council has to get together and talk to the guy before they can even accept them. The Council has to set the standards and the rules and they've got to make the decision on who's accepted in the number (ML #334A:55,59).
If you ever need discernment, it's when you take new people into your Colonies! Have a meeting with your Colony Council and look him [the potential disciple] over and talk to him (ML #734:30,36).
We are an army! We're not only an army, but we're training the officers of the army! We're the toughest officer's training school there is, and that's what you've got to remember! We're not looking for just any kind of disciples. We're looking for the right kind who are going to make good fighters and good officers (ML #334A:17,18).
1. If a prospective member has been previously excommunicated, the continental office must give its approval before the prospective member can rejoin a Charter Member Home.
2. In some cases the Home may decide that it is wise to wait for a substantial period of time before accepting a new member into their Home, whereas in other cases they may allow them to join immediately.
As you'll note, no time frame is given before someone is allowed to join a Charter Home as a full-time member. So we're not ruling out the possibility of some people wanting to join immediately, but before they cut all worldly ties, forsake all and become fully integrated into the Charter Family, it would be best to have a period of time to get to know the Family better. This would also allow the Home to have more opportunity to get to know the prospective disciple. If all the following requirements are met and two-thirds of the Home's voting members agree, an individual may join a Charter Home as a full-time member.
[With potential new disciples] that's when you need a little discernment, and in the absence of that, they need to pray for it! If they ever need discernment it's when they take people into their Colonies (ML #334A:56,57).
Of course, the time period might vary with some, it depends on the individual case and the situation. But I would say we certainly should not allow anyone to actually move in and join until every facet of their case is studied, investigated and tested, to see if it is really time for them to join. I mean it! Some cases could be allowed to join sooner than others when you find out that they're really ready and really whole-hearted and tested and tried and proven (ML #2385:68).
B. For a person to become a new disciple they must:
1. Have received Jesus as their personal Savior and been filled with the Holy Spirit.
A new disciple must be saved, filled with the Spirit (ML #657:26).
I don't think anybody ought to join unless they're really filled with the Holy Spirit, because they're not going to have the power or the grace to take it (ML #334A:75).
2. Be of legal age, or if not, have notarized parental permission.
As Dad has counseled us, we can't accept underage new disciples unless they have notarized permission: "We cannot accept [anyone underage] without written, and preferably notarized permission. ... Please don't do it!" (ML #124:8.)
Additionally, though a person may be of legal age to join, in many countries around the world it is best to also consider the local customs. For example, legal age may be 18 in the country where you reside, but due to close family ties the accepted custom may be for persons to remain with their parents until marriage or the age of 21 or more.
For this reason, the Home may find it wise to initiate communication with the parents and/or close relatives of prospective new disciples of all ages to make sure they have a basic understanding of the Family, to answer any questions, and to avoid misunderstandings. If the parents voice any major concerns, the Home might find it in their best interest to encourage the prospective disciple to be a Catacomber for a set period of time, during which time he could endeavor to lovingly explain his new-found faith and commitment and help his parents to overcome their concerns at his desire to serve the Lord with the Family.
The local Family might want to meet with any concerned close parents/relatives or associates and explain the work to them before the prospective member is allowed to join. If parents and associates still disagree, the Home should pray and count the cost. If there could be potential 10:36 problems that could affect other Homes in the area, the affected Homes should be consulted.
Many, many, many of our people were Catacombers for several years before their parents allowed them to join. At least that gives the parents a little more time to get used to the idea. ... If in spite of time and parental opposition and every other obstacle to test them and their faith, they still hang on as Catacombers and they still come and visit and they're still participating in meetings, and you have time to really test them to see if they've got the real stuff, you're a whole lot safer in the long run!... They need to take time to be time-tested, to be Family-tested, with time for their parents to get acquainted and used to the idea, to see that their child is determined, is not going to give up, until the parents finally give in! (ML #2385:57,60,61.)
3. Have a basic understanding of the Family, its goals, way of life, and believe that David was God's Endtime Prophet and that Maria is God's chosen and anointed successor, who has inherited David's mantle, as God's Prophetess.
In order to ensure that the prospective new disciple has a clear basic understanding of the Family, we would suggest they should have read at least the following Family publications or portions of Scripture, and discussed any questions with the Home teamwork or responsible shepherds:
"Growing in Love"
"Growing in Faith"
The following Basic Statements:
"Statement of Faith"
"Loving Jesus Revelation"
"Christ-Centered Bible-Based Education"
The Gospel of John
The Book of Acts, Chapters 1-10, as well as "Acts 1-10!" (ML #1383) from DB 1 or GN Bk.3.
Responsibilities of Individual Members in the "Charter of Responsibilities and Rights"
"Fundamental Family Rules" 1-11
If Growing in Love is not translated into your local language but Treasures is, the prospective new disciple may read the shorter, edited versions of these articles in Treasures. (The Treasures version of "Why the Bible?" is entitled "The Most Amazing Book!," and the Treasures version of "Whose Fool Are You?" is entitled "Why Evolution?")
To become a Revolutionary for Jesus: You must study and learn these Bible beliefs and rules prayerfully, accept and promise to obey them before you join (ML #S:14).
I just believe in being honest and fair with the people and letting them know how hard it's going to be so they have a choice to get out of it before they get into it (ML #334A:73).
These new babes must have the same Salvation, the same power of the Spirit, the same motivation, the same desire to forsake all, and the same total dedication to serve Jesus! They must abide by the same rules of the revolutionary articles of war, which are the same for both officers and men, from generals to privates (ML #60:56).
4. Show a sincere interest in reading God's Word and desire to engage in evangelism.
They [spiritual babes] should be so hungry for the pure milk of the Word, that if you show them where it's at, they should devour it, drink it in, the pure, sincere milk of the Word! (1Peter 2:2.) (ML #752:21.)
A lack of hunger and desire for the Word shows they may not be truly born!... True babes will be hungry! (ML #2415:3.)
If they're willing to witness on the spot to their friends and classmates and work mates and boss and family, that's their first witness and that's the acid test. And if they can't take that, I doubt if they're going to be strong enough to stay in the Family (ML #1881:17).
5. Have a sincere desire to dedicate their life to serving Jesus with the Family.
If ... they're not absolutely convinced of the righteousness of our cause enough to want to do or die daily to love people, we don't want them! We should never let these guys move in until we know something about them and we've got a real conviction that they've really got the goods! (ML #657:26.)
When people join our Family ... they're going to have to live like they see the Family living, and they're going to have to witness like they see the person witnessing who witnessed to them! They're going to have to win souls like they were won! They're going to have to live by faith like the Family lives! They're going to have to suffer persecution like the Family suffers! (ML #2232:35.)
6. Have lived in a Charter Home for a minimum of 20 days.
Having them come in and live with you is even better than a probation period where they just come in every day and study. You can never find out as much about what they're like then. It doesn't mean a thing just because they're good on paper with pencils and they can sit there in class singing, "La-di-da-di-da!" and shout "Hallelujah!" But if they come in and have to take part in the duties and the rough stuff, then you find out what they're like real fast! (ML #334A:42.)
People's first reactions are sometimes euphoric, and then boom!--They find out it wears off and they either get bored or tired or don't like it and would rather go back where they came from. They join with euphoric dreamlike ideas of the Family and then they find out it comes down to just plain ordinary brass tacks and hard work, and the aura wears off when it gets down to the real hard work of cleaning toilets and washing dishes and litnessing and whatnot. If they don't really love the Lord and if it's not really forsake-all because they want to serve the Lord, if they just had some idea that it might be a nice way to live and it might be fun, then they don't stick and they go back. It's going to be just as hard work, if not harder, than school or job or living at home or whatever else they were trying to escape from, even mates and family! (ML #1654:1-4.)
7. Be free from substance abuse and/or the use of illegal or illicit drugs.
We talk about rehabilitation from drugs and crime, but we specialize in the kind [of people] who get instant deliverance through Jesus Christ right on the spot before they join!--Not those we have to fiddle around with for years after they join, trying to get them to get the victory (ML #334A:26).
8. Be free from contagious disease.
A prospective new disciple needs to report his health and medical condition to the Home. Some might have a disease that would seriously hinder their ability to actively serve the Lord as a Charter disciple, and it might be best that they not join as a Charter Member. Someone who has diabetes and uses insulin may still be an active member of a Charter Home, while someone who has leukemia and needs regular hospital treatment might find it more difficult to serve the Lord effectively in a Charter Home. The final decision would rest with the Home, except in the case of a serious illness; since that situation could affect the overall work in that area, the Home teamwork should counsel with their area officer. A prospective new disciple with a contagious disease should not be permitted to move into the Home, of course.
We should have some kind of physical examination for new disciples. We examine them spiritually before we take them in, why not physically? This would not be with the idea of refusing them, but to have immediate and definite prayer about any physical problems they have, and ask the Lord to deliver them before they spread anything contagious to the rest of the camp (ML #155:57).
9. Test negative for AIDS before moving into the Home, and again test negative after a six-month period.
Potential new disciples must provide medical documentation to prove that an AIDS test was taken before moving into the Home. Anyone who has AIDS or is HIV-positive would not be able to live in a Charter Home.
All new disciples must take an AIDS test before they are allowed to move in with us! If their test proves negative, they may move into our Homes, but they must abstain from sex with others for their first six months in the Family, after which they take a second AIDS test to make sure they are clear. (DB7, page 500.)
10. Take a test for sexually transmitted diseases.
A prospective new disciple should also take a test for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) to make sure that he or she is free from them. Since the new disciple cannot have sex during the first six months in the Home, he or she could be permitted to join the Home even with a STD (other than HIV or AIDS), providing the STD is being treated. However, he or she would need to be test free of sexually transmitted diseases before being allowed to share with other Charter Members once his first six months are complete. In the case of herpes, after becoming a voting member he or she could share with other Charter Members providing precautions are taken as per Sex and Affection Rules, N.
11. Have no debts.
In exceptional circumstances, a Home may, by two-thirds agreement of the voting members, agree to take on the liabilities of new disciples--such as vehicle payments, student loan, etc. Generally, though, the rule has always been that a new disciple "must be free of debts, payments, and family or legal obligations. 'Owe no man anything, save to love him'" (ML #S:7).
12. Have no legal or military obligations that would prevent them from being a full-time member of a Charter Home.
There are some legal situations, which might not interfere with Charter membership, such as jury duty or obligatory public service for a traffic violation. In some countries, a short term of military service is obligatory for certain ages, and they may still be able to attend to this requirement without too much disruption in their service to the Lord; in which case the Home could agree to accept them according to the circumstances.
We cannot accept ... those with legal problems which might endanger your whole Colony. We cannot risk the whole army for one soldier's personal problems! Doing so can get your whole work in trouble and give it a bad name with the authorities and turn them against you (ML #124:8; #156C:8).
C. Upon completing the above qualifications, the new disciple should complete the Personal Data for New Disciples Form, a copy of which should be sent to the continental office with the Home's monthly report. The new disciple is then classified as a "babe" and should be listed on the Home's monthly report as a Home member.
D. Upon moving into a Charter Home, a new disciple must list his or her assets (cash and personal possessions) using the Asset Declaration for New Charter Members. The assets listed on this declaration will remain his or her property to take with them should he or she decide to leave before completing six months in the Family, unless they decide to leave some of these assets with the Family.
New disciples who decide not to join the Family at any point during the first six months will be permitted to take with them any personal possessions that they have listed on their Asset Declaration for New Charter Members. (See Appendix B.) The exception being that new disciples would only take whatever part of their cash assets that the Home and they agreed the new disciple would take with them should they leave the Family before becoming a Charter voting member. For example, if a new disciple joins a Home with $10,000, the new disciple and the Home should agree how much of the $10,000 would be kept for the new disciple should he or she decide to leave the Family before finishing their Babes Course and becoming a Charter member, and what part the new disciple would give to the Home to use at the beginning of his or her Babes training.
E. Refrain from any sexual activity during their first six months in the Family.
1. New disciples joining as a couple may continue to have sex together during this period.
2. Towards the end of their first six months in the Family, new disciples must read through the "Living the Lord's Law of Love" GN series. Only upon completion of the series, and the other requirements in point F. below, can they begin to have sexual activity with other Charter Members.
In addition to the Letters on Sex in the Basic Babes Course, near the end of their first six months in the Family new disciples must read through the "Living the Lord's Law of Love" GN series (published in Lifelines 25), in order to get a full understanding of their responsibilities in sexual relationships. Only upon completing the reading of this series can they begin having sex with others, providing of course their first six months are over and they've taken a second AIDS test.
F. After living in a Charter Home for six consecutive months, completing the reading of the "Charter of Responsibilities and Rights" and "Fundamental Family Rules," and the Babes Basic Course, and having taken a second AIDS test with negative results, if a simple majority of the Homes voting members agree, they will become a Charter Member with voting rights. (See Classifications of Family Membership and Literature, and Priority Reading for New Disciples' First Year in the Family, for other appropriate reading material for babes.)
Once a new disciple has completed their six months training, he or she becomes a full voting Charter Member. They should complete in triplicate and sign the Statement of Commitment for New Disciples Form. (See Appendix B.) An original copy of this commitment form should be given to the new member, with copies given to the Home and the area office. For legal reasons, you might find it beneficial to have this notarized in some countries. To be legally recognized, in some countries a signature needs to be witnessed and notarized, whereas in other countries this would not be necessary.
1. Once the new disciple becomes a voting member, an agreement should be reached between the Home and the new member as to which of his or her possessions the new member would be permitted to take with him or her if he or she should decide to leave the Home.
At the point of becoming a new voting member of the Home, an agreement should be reached between the Home and the new member as to which of his or her possessions the new member would be permitted to take with him or her if he or she should decide to leave or move to another Home. This is the same procedure as for a Charter Member joining a Home (see Right of Mobility, D. 7.). During their time as a member of the Home, however, Acts 2:44-45 fully applies in that he or she should willingly give and share of all his or her possessions with others. (See Responsibilities of Individual Members, J.)
2. Although new disciples do not have the Right of Mobility until they become voting members, the continental office may authorize the member's movement to a different Home if deemed necessary or expedient.
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family