Announcement: New Spiritual Sounding Board Forum

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Announcing New Private Spiritual Abuse Forum

Blogging is great for introducing a variety of topics, but sometimes it’s awkward to break the conversation to share a personal need or concern.  Over the past year, there have been times when I have wished there was a private place to share and encourage one another in a deeper level – – – a place where there could be ongoing support from people going through similar experiences.

Over six weeks ago, our moderator, Fiat Pax made an online forum for SSB.  I have been stewing about it for a while, not sure I wanted to go public with it, not sure I had the time because the blog already takes a lot of time.  However, there have been a few unique incidences that have happened behind the scenes that have convinced me that this is the right time.

There are some people who will not post on a blog – even with a pseudonym  – for fear that they are discovered by their former church/pastor.  I understand that.  Where many other bloggers may insist on first and last name in order to comment, I’ve aways allowed anonymous comments.  The first person, Meaghan, who voluntarily posted with her real name on my blog was sued for defamation by my former pastor.  Even though he lost the lawsuit, he has still continued to harass her publicly online, even trespassed at her home some 5 years after she left the church.

With Meaghan’s story in mind, some of you legitimately need a safer place to communicate than the SSB blog provides.  Think about how awkward it might be for ex-wives of pedophiles to share their personal pain online.  A forum can easily facilitate this need in a safe place.   Where is there a safe place for those abused in church to simply come and share their struggles at any time and know that others  will “get it” because they have gone through something similar?   Maybe you want to join so that you can be an encouragement to some who are struggling.  You are welcome, too.

Last Saturday, I invited readers of the SSB Facebook page a sneak preview of the forum and to work out some kinks, but we’re now ready to open it up on a bigger scale.

I took a screenshot of a portion of the forum so you could see what it looks like:

SSB Forum at 6.29.09 PM.09 PM

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It is a private forum and because we want it to be free from any stalkers or unsafe people, we will hand-approve each member.    Only approved members can access the site.  The forum content is not searchable on Google.  If desired, people will be able to connect privately via private message which typically happens here on the blog only if I facilitate the connection behind the scenes.  You can still use a pseudonym on the site.

The forum’s primary topic is similar to what we discuss here – abuse in church.  There are also areas for light conversation or whatever is on your mind.  We are able to add other bulletin boards for specific groups as you (we) see the need.  FP and I are moderating the site.

In this forum, we have the ability to make certain bulletin boards within the forum “private.”  For example, we could easily set up a Ladies-Only bulletin board  – accessible only to women.

If you’d like to join this forum, please send an e-mail to:  spiritualsbforum@ gmail dot com

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12 comments on “Announcement: New Spiritual Sounding Board Forum

  1. I agree with Lydia, JA. This is going to be a huge blessing to so many. Thanks for all of your hard work, grief and pain–I recognize and appreciate your courage and tenacity.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Lydia and Brenda!

    When I reached out for help to during the lawsuit, I got an instant support network. I was very fortunate. I am truly blessed and have often said that I wish I could bottle up some of this support to pass around. I think the forum is the answer to this dilemma. There are so many people who have words of encouragement and the gift of a “listening ear” to hurting people. I’ve seen it here on the blog and I think it can be easily facilitated in a private forum. The Body of Christ is big enough for this. We can help each other get through the pain on the road to recovery. I’m very excited.

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  3. Julie Anne,
    I am not signing up for the bulletin boards just now. But, if you find there are issues there such that my background and approach would be helpful, please email me and I will sign up for the appropriate boards. I am in the process of semi-retiring, and limiting my professional activities to 1/2 time, so I can take care of my spouse, who is now teaching full time again: Making her lunch, taking on the dish washing, picking up her half of the cooking, while continuing with the laundry and grocery shopping. Oh, and also mowing the lawn, which she has done when not teaching, at her insistence. Tending the compost and recycling, etc. as well. Our partnership is continuing to shift based on needs. But I am also applying for a new job, and if I get it, we will need to hire someone to do some of the domestic and lawn stuff.

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  4. It’s time to turn away from the “celebrity” pastors. If you have a pastor who seeks the Lord and preaches sermons without a quote from these men, thank him and encourage him…and pray for him. We need local shepherds, not conferences and coalitions.

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  5. I began dating my abuser over 20 years ago. I was crazy about him. It was off and on for many years until I became pregnant. (I won’t even go into that whole era, which I could write a book). I would find my final breaking point 2 kids and five years later. I suggested a separation via email because I was so terrified. The next day I would be pushed out and locked away from my children and served papers for divorce at the same time

    A summary of my story and frustration and continued disbelief:

    I was confused, unhinged and did not even comprehend I was being abused until after we split. That’s how confused and desperate I was. My father died 5 months before he locked me out and my mother 1 year before that. I had nowhere to turn. No money. And I believe I truly was “crazy” at that moment. Then on top of that I was delirious because I didn’t know if my kids were being abused, or if they were alone because he was on a drug binge or if he had a loaded gun they could reach or if he was running around with a gun paranoid and looking out the weekend.

    I had no money and he is wealthy. Endlessly wealthy. Who would take my case? No one? How could I hold down a job? I wasn’t even sane enough. I ran around trying to get help. I wouldn’t want to be too far from the house because I was desperate to be close. The police didn’t believe me. He had contacted the family I had living “expressing his concerns “ about me, for a long time apparently. He had people stalking me, calling me harassing me. He would give bill collectors my cell phone number over the kids unpaid medical bills and when I would try to explain they would tell me I was an irresponsible mother. Neighbors would see me and they would be so angry they wouldn’t even speak to me. To this day I don’t know why. My abuser had secret cameras in every room filming my every moment for 5 years. I could go on writing for days…..

    What was I supposed to do? There was no help. It is now 8 years later. He has custody and I have zero rights as a parent. None. He kept them away from me for over a year without seeing them at all and I agreed to sign over my rights with a promise to get to see them that day if I did. I was under extreme duress and had been living the life I described alone and homeless for 3 years by the time this transpired. He let me see them every other weekend but has been very slowly letting me see them less and less and my daughter wants nothing to do with me any longer. I’m worried about my children in so many ways. I have regained my “sanity” as best I can but can do nothing because I signed over all of my rights 5 years ago.

    I have done much research and I here experts saying document document document…… I didn’t have the mental capacity to do it. I understand how that sounds to someone who has not lived this as I have but even now, writing even this, I lose ground on my progress with each word I write.

    I have no hope in anything man could do. I have hope in God and it was only His power that gave me the power to even appear to be somewhat “normal “.

    I know I am not the only person with a similar story. I know there will be people that will be in my situation and they need someone who has been through it to “document things for them” , be there clarity etc…. I can’t fathom the though of the women out there right now ALL ALONE AND HOPELESS when I know I could help. How can I be the person that I needed so badly during that time but wasn’t there? I’ve looked for information but I haven’t found anything out there that has to deal with a broke abused mother going up against a narcissist sociopath millionaire. Also nothing about a father with a personality disorder that has sole custody of the children.

    I would think a lot of it has to do with women not speaking out. There is no way I will put my name on anything publicly until my kids are adults because he would simply never let me see them again. I’m actually surprised that I’m still alive. I do think that he will have me killed. It would just be more convenient for him. He will do it when he thinks no one would suspect he had a hand in it. He’s very methodical and plays the long game without as much as a flinch. I’ve even considered that he had my 60 year old parents killed as they both just died unexpectedly with no warning.

    Me and the people like me live in constant fear of many things. I feel I’m not worth all the work it would take to help my situation and I think it’s easier for people to buy in to what my abuser has to say because if they didn’t that would mean they would have to figure out what to do with the real situation. I don’t think anyone knows how. I don’t think there are any laws in place to protect my children, myself and the other woman and children in a similar situation.

    How does anyone recover? It’s not over at all. I’m still very much in this nightmare it’s just shifted a bit and added new fears and concerns.

    I can’t speak to my children about anything because they can’t tell me the truth and that would be me putting them in a position that would make them feel even worse because they wound just have to lie. I don’t bad mouth their father because they are under enough duress. They have to be in every sport, class, function etc…. and they must be the best at it. I feel pathetic as I still have no one to turn to. A good mother would have found a way by now right? HOW? Believe me when I say I’ve tried EVERYTHING!!

    A note I should add…..I have to be friendly to him and pretend I “like” him to the world because if I didn’t he would of course pull the kids from me. So you can see how this kind of abuse is hard to prove. Because if you speak out and don’t have the resources of expensive attorneys to prove your case then I’m dead and they (my kids) are doomed. There is no escape for any of us.

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