Discussion: Thoughts on Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual Abuse, Church, Understanding


“You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.” Ezekiel 34:4

 

I was thinking last night about spiritual abuse. Do you think we are makingspiritual abuse, marriage, ATI, Doug Phillips, Vision Forum, Reconstructionism any headway on this subject? Do people understand what it is? Is the Body of Christ understanding it as a legitimate abuse within the church? Or is it getting brushed aside as whiny and/or complaining about conflict? Where are we today?

I’m wondering if people will only consider it as abuse if there is another conflict along with it:  ie, mishandled sex abuse, mishandled church discipline, etc.

We haven’t had a discussion like this in a while. What are your thoughts? Is there anything we can do to help legitimize this horrific abuse that affects people at their core?

77 comments on “Discussion: Thoughts on Spiritual Abuse

  1. I will certainly have some more thoughts on this, but for now, I will mention that I was recently contacted by a Christian counselor after she saw a tweet of mine about involvement in 2 cults, wanting to know my story. In the course of our conversation I casually mentioned “spiritual abuse”, and she indicated she’d never heard the term before. I very much appreciate her willingness and interest in learning. That does go to show us though that there is a lot of work left to do before these ideas are commonplace.

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  2. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog and commented:

    I think that sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse are all interconnected. While these different types of abuse often happen separately from one another, there is an underlying mindset that seems to breed and foster abuse in general. I think we are making some headway but it is slow. I do think that the fact that many in church leadership are on the defensive about this, is a sign that your efforts are paying off. They can’t just ignore you and the other voices who are out there.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. A pastor very dear friend of mine says he believes we are being shaken, the church as a whole and that is why the distinctions are becoming more clear. I believe that people are beginning to see, to wake up, to have to ask themselves questions as to what is happening in the ‘churches’ Two shocking things that happened to me this week— but in the midst of it, awesome witnesses and conversations have come.

    This is just an outward demonstration of the wickedness growing under the direction of evil pastors. I was picketing (the evil Calvary Chapel in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho) as I have done before. All I do is stand and hold a sign. There are some very real and loving Christians there (they are confused and don’t understand what to do because the Pastor lies and tells them wrong things) but they are kind to me anyway. The men as a whole are mean, rude, openly hateful– with the support of all the other men and pastor of course. But this week was off the chart. While I was talking to a nice, loving woman who came to talk with me. A couple (middle aged, nice looking) walked up and of course did the same old ‘can I pray with you’— I always agree, just to be agreeable???? as the man prayed, (after just walking out of the church service by the evil pastor) This was the paraphrase of his prayer, with quotes on the very specifics—- Dear God, ……….. We know how much you hate division and how much you hate ‘this woman’ …………. “please strike her down with a stroke, please put her on her death bed’ Dear God please kill her.

    I cannot tell you how shocking and chilling that was, it was done in public— in front of 4 witnesses and then they smiled and walked away to their car. The poor nice woman from the same church was just standing with her mouth open. I said, don’t worry this is how they are all the time, this is what your pastor thinks is okay. She was just stunned and kept saying. “that is not okay, that is not good, that is not okay’ She was in utter shock when actually seeing a tangible expression of the wickedness of her Moses Pastor congregation.

    When I talked about it later to my daughter and some others, they keep telling me— you are the mirror, they hate looking in the mirror.

    I believe more are seeing. More are waking up, it is slow, but more are questioning, more are being bold (the ones who are openly loving to me despite the wicked pastor and his evil henchmen)– the evil is harder to remain hidden and the true ones of Christ, t heir love is more evident in contrast. I believe we are making headway. I believe this because Love and Truth always rule over evil.

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  4. I think that most churches and people do not have a clue that this type of abuse exists or how often it happens. I am of the opinion that “organized religion” is the devil’s workshop so to speak. The perpetrators are not going to change. I appreciate all you all do here at SSB to get the word out and start the conversation. My situation of spiritual abuse happened when I went to my elders and pastors about my domestic abuse. I was totally marginalized instead of validated and helped. The ex anti-husband still goes to church there every Sunday. He is a tither (at least he was when we were married.) They are providing a safe haven for a wolf in sheep’s clothing. True shepherds guard the flock- they don’t support the wolves and give them free reign. False shepherds is what most of them are.

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  5. It is always cult type churches….full of legalism….I personally felt first hand spiritual abuse. they do not strenghthen the weak….If you disagree you are talked about etc….manipulation is a big part if it. This is nothing but a spirit if witchcraft.

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  6. This is in the resource guide that the police department where I volunteer gives to victims of domestic violence. When I saw this, I about hit the floor. It was the first time that I saw an organization recognize that spiritual abuse within domestic violence is a real thing – and it allows victims to recognize that it is a real thing.

    As far as spiritual abuse by the church, I have never heard a pastor or church leadership openly talk about spiritual abuse. I think it is rare that one would. After all, who would admit that what they may be saying and doing is abusive? I think it is rare to find a pastor who would admit that the ones he/she is supposed to be serving are greater than him/her.

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  7. It has been my experience that a lot of spiritual abuse and other abuse happens in these back woods independent churches. They really believe they are the only ones that believe correctly. Really what I have seen is a lot of ignorance, pride, hateful people. The have not strenghthened the weak or healed the broken hearted. I know because I was there. Watch your step in Abbeville, Alabama.

    **Moderator note: Katy, I added 2 to your name because there’s another Katy who posts here 🙂 If you’d like it to be something else, please let me know and I’ll change it.

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  8. shunnedandthreatened, That so called prayer was shocking, it sounds like something straight out of satan’s mouth. O my gosh. “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in darkness.”

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  9. I think the movement among Christians to correct spiritual abuse is taking very slow steps backward, but I don’t know how to change that. It seems like so many people who are angry about their experiences do not consolidate them into fewer forums, with good direction, but instead start their own twitter accounts, blogs, etc. Somewhere in that, the message gets lost I think. Then the majority of very true lessons for the church about Diotrophes-like spiritual abuse gets written off as a bunch of complaining witch hunters.

    It doesn’t help that some people cannot realize that they are too angry to have an effective ministry in this regard. Perhaps their wounds are too fresh or just never healed? But in all honesty, some out there seem to be quick to find a reason to be angry…any reason to lynch the pastor they think is probably abusive, with cause or not. And even if there is a lesson to be learned about said ministry or pastor, its like some want every negative thing they hear to be true so that they can say “See….I told you so!”

    I have followed you for several years Julie. The further away you have gotten from your personal experience, the more objectively you have seemed to me to have handled spiritual abuse for what it is. I think you are a good voice. I just don’t think everyone else who thinks they are a voice for the spiritually abused is really as effective as they think they are.

    The goal should be more than just cheerleading each other, liking, and retweeting each others posts, right? Its almost like preaching to the choir, and in the mean time, the people who really need to hear about it are rolling their eyes and writing it off.

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  10. I would say that those who have experienced it, are probably going to be first to hear the term and speak out about it. I see SSB as a place that helps legitimize the pain, educating victims, and giving them a safe place to learn, express, and heal.

    I think more counselors may be hearing the term, they may be more familiar with the concept since cults and their aftermath have been around for a loooong time.

    However I don’t see too many churches admitting to the concept of SA; they are in denial that such things can and do happen. These churches are likely the ones perpetuating the abuse, and I have never found a church willing to listen to anyone who would challenge any part of their status quo. No, they believe they are perfect, who are SA victims to claim otherwise? To those churches/Christians, SA victims-indeed most victims of any kind of abuse or grief or pain-will always come across as whiny.

    Which is why groups like HA, SSB, etc. are so very important. They educate, they advocate, for “another way” of dealing with hurting people, a way that actually lines up with Scripture and does not compromise, but strengthens a Christian ministry for those who are not caught up in the false perfection rampant among the Body.

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  11. There is another thing happening (in my opinion) that can bring some hope? and why I believe it is important to talk to as many ‘leaders’ as possible. after the ‘episode’ of being prayed about to God for me to be killed, I was so upset that I drove about 30 miles to another town in Idaho. I had met that Calvary Pastor once– he seemed sincere? but ended up doing nothing (as usual)— I was so upset I decided that his sticking his head in the sand about his local Pastor friend was not acceptable. So I went there to finish picketing just as they were finishing up their 2nd service. Immediately a young man came out to talk to me (turned out it was the worship leader). He listened, he was kind and in my opinion a true and searching Christian young man. I told him it was unacceptable for my Christian brothers to ‘allow’ this mistreatment without Biblical intervention etc. we talked. almost everyone was gone. he had to leave, but I saw him texting etc. I knew he was communicating with others.

    Before I could leave to my car 3 of them came to me. 1 a pastor from there (the one I had met before), one was a youth pastor (I think) I had met him before and then the young worship leader. As we talked, this was shocking. I kept telling them that it was biblical to publically rebuke and Elder and the fact they had no way to do it was causing more sin because the Pastors are bold in knowing nothing can be done. They all THREE argued that the Bible does not say it. I said it not only says it – it says WHY– so the others Elders will be AFRAID (and shape up) they ALL said the Bible does not say that. THESE ARE PASTORS. Finally in frustration I said ‘doesn’t someone have a phone, can you google ‘rebuke an Elder’ — the youth pastor did so, and then read the Timothy scripture allowed, they all stood there stunned. For REAL> They were not faking it, they completely and totally didn’t even know (which is the goal of Calvary)—- but they were decent and humble about receiving that information. the important things are these. The young men realized I was speaking truth, they treated me as if I was speaking truth, they were respectful, they could articulate that the other Pastor was wrong and the man who prayed that God kill me was wrong, and I could see they were contemplating things. I challenged them to leave the organization if it is not Biblical, do not bear the name of an unbiblical organization. I have seen in my picketing experiences, the ‘young’ ones coming up, the young men wanting to be leaders are listening— they will remember– that is a good audience to try and reach— they can change the entire paradigm of safeness in the churches and I am encouraged that I do see truthful, seeking, honest hearts in a lot of these young leaders.

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  12. shunnedandthreatened,

    Were they just biblically ignorant, or is Calvary Chapel church polity part of the problem? Serious question; I’m not familiar with this denomination.

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  13. Loura said:

    I would say that those who have experienced it, are probably going to be first to hear the term and speak out about it. I see SSB as a place that helps legitimize the pain, educating victims, and giving them a safe place to learn, express, and heal.

    I agree with your whole comment. I’ve seen comments on The Wartburg Watch suggesting that people are learning the red flags to look for and avoid them. However, I think these blogs are, primarily, a healing place for victims.

    Last year (I think), I contacted a mutual friend of Barb Orlowski to ask about passing on his contact info. I mentioned that I’d met Barb on a spiritual abuse blog. He responded, “what’s that?” This man led the youth Sunday School group for our church in the KSA. I was a little taken aback. I guess I hoped Barb would explain it to him when they had a chance to catch up. 🙂 (How’s that for passing the buck?)

    Anyway, this weekend thousands of people will descend upon my former cult to enjoy their annual fair. Many don’t care what abuses have taken place here. It hasn’t affected them.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. this is the strange thing about Calvary that I only found out by accident after unfortunately having a horrible counseling experience with the pastor in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Calvary likes to ‘boast’ that they are a worldwide organization of over 1600 churches etc. They have a calvary chapel association, they have ‘leaders’ over ‘regions’ they have regional conferences, they have senior pastors conferences etc.— this would make an unsuspecting consumer think that they are ‘organized’ and have ‘structure’ of some type. NOT, NOT at all. The association is a sham as far as I can tell. The secretary of state in California says they applied for non profit status, but were rejected— so they are technically a for profit but apparently not filing corporate taxes, they have no phone number and no real address, you can email them but they won’t answer. When they did have a phone number they told me they no nothing about the pastors they approve to be an affiliate, the pastors have no training, no counseling training, no nothing at all— and the most important, the association does not care about any immoral or unethical or even illegal things the pastors do, they say– we don’t have anything to do with them. They also do not know if the ‘affiliate’ has Elders or Boards or how the structure is set up in each church– they can each do whatever they want– including physical aggression towards anyone who asks to speak to the board or asks to see the bylaws of their non profit.

    They outwardly and overtly teach the ‘Moses model’ meaning the men/pastors who flock to be associated with Calvary Chapel– specifically are doing so because of the protection and non-accountability of the ‘Moses model’ the Moses model means the pastor is God’s modern day Moses, Moses was the final decision maker and no one was allowed to question or complain about Moses— “do not touch my anointed’ is their rally call. So anyone even trying to point out a sinful pastor and get help is considered immediately sinful for ‘touching God’s anointed’— they do not believe or perhaps even know anything about God’s methods of Biblical accountability.
    I could tell these pastors – the three from the decent Calvary– really didn’t know, they were stunned, they didn’t know and that is because the HIGHER PASTORS in Calvary teach untruths, and raise up the Pastors (who love it) above everyone. The model plays directly to attracting sociopathic and narcissist personality types, they laugh and mock you if you ask for help and accountability, they say right to your face, no one will do anything, we are independent, no one will help you. It is shocking. But some real true Christians that are in this organization do not realize what the wickedness it is founded on. My prayer is they begin to see it. With the recent Pastor that was arrested for murdering his mistress at Calvary Chapel– that was the last straw for me. Being silent condones and allows this wickedness to continue– my goal is to hold the Pastors accountable, they will have to deal with knowing the truth about what is happening to me (being threatened physically and also wanting me to be killed) and it will be between them and God what their response will be. But the more that can be seen and brought to light the more the true followers will be able to judge– they cannot rightly judge when it continues to be hidden. It is such a magnet for egotistical men who believe they are right next to God and anything they decree is God ordained and all others need to shut up or be punished.

    How they keep the good people blind is stunning to me. the fact that none of these three knew this scripture, I was trying to quote it as close as possible to jar their memories NOTHING– nope— they didn’t even have a clue. They truly believed I was making it up, until they read it out loud then they were just quiet- like trying to figure out how it got there. LOL But seriously– how can Calvary keep their pastors so bewitched that even good, honest ones really don’t know what the scripture says?
    the war is with the unseen—- and it is a true war, that is for sure.

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  15. Maybe a working definition is in order. I would suggest something like “spiritual abuse is when official or unofficial church leaders use that authority or power to sin against those under their influence, and can include or result in emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or other abuse.”

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  16. I believe that it is a worthy endeavor to keep telling our stories and informing others of what happened. Also, continuing to share scripture along with these stories, so that others might be forewarned. Spiritual abuse is a subtle thing and the light of the Lord needs to be shone intensely upon it – stand up and tell your story! There has been recent unfoldings of both financial abuses and spiritual abuses at Gospel for Asia, these types of occurances need the light of truth shone on them.
    Just one example:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/11/15/gospel-for-asia-issues-threats-and-demands-removal-of-staff-meeting-audio/

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  17. or when the church leaders/ official or unofficial use their authority or power to cover up those same sins being committed by their friends or members against others

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  18. perhaps secular counselors don’t understand that there are no ethics or boundary’s in pastoral counseling. meaning, if you are licensed professional counselor, you would have your licensed revoked for ’emotional abuse’ of your client. That means things like, you cannot counsel someone and also be a person responsible for wielding out punishment— those two roles together are abusive by nature. Secular counseling knows this and would not allow it. Churches – especially like Calvary have no standards or even knowledge that this is abusive. Like the Calvary Pastor I went to ONE time for counseling and then has shunned me and lied about me for years. if he was licensed I could complain and his licensed would be revoked because that is unethical and harmful. Also, secular counselors obviously have confidentiality guarantees. ANd some clergy have clergy confidentiality that protects people. However, Calvary and pastors have none– they have no standards, so when the pastor decided to release my confidential information to a man threatening me– Calvary says ”so what, there is no confidentiality’ I don’t think secular counselors can even believe that pastors are doing this to people—- there is a large part of the spiritual abuse t hat comes under unethical counseling practices and that is an area that needs to be addressed and I think secular people can understand that damage.

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  19. JA: not at all. What I would say is that there is this broad (perhaps somewhat nebulous) category of behaviors we call abuse with a list of known expressions (sexual, emotional, physical, etc..) and justifications (political or spiritual power, mental illness, sin, etc..).

    So spiritual abuse has a variety of expressions, as well as a variety of justifications–who am I to say that the man using Scripture to justify his behavior isn’t also NPD and high on his political power? It is, really, a claim I see routinely here, and I agree that such a confluence of factors is probable.

    In other words, your Venn diagram looks like a three year old’s first time drawing circles with crayons. So if we wonder why we’re not getting anywhere, there we go. It’s just plain complicated.

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  20. Contrast that a touch with Kelleman’s definition that you cite; now I would agree 100% that any spiritual abuse by a Christian (real or nominal) is a spiritual role reversal where the leader does not act as a shepherd, but where does that get us with motivations, etc..? He does a decent job listing some of the things to look out for, though.

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  21. Were they just biblically ignorant, or is Calvary Chapel church polity part of the problem? Serious question; I’m not familiar with this denomination.

    There may be variation from place to place and fellowships where people are sincere and generally doing the right thing, but Calvary Chapel is pretty infamous for abusive practices and heavy shepherding masked by faux sweetness. I was part of a CC many years ago, back in my undergraduate days in Wichita, KS. I never saw anything amiss, but I visited one briefly some years ago, about 20 years removed from college. I spoke directly with leaders, wasn’t even there for church, but for business. But within minutes I could feel something terribly wrong. They said the right things, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that some just frankly evil was afoot there. Hard to say if it was just a strange delusion on my part, real discernment gained from years of experience, or what. I can say that when I made this visit it was before I’d read one word about the purported prevalence of abuse in CC churches.

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  22. “…how can Calvary keep their pastors so bewitched that even good, honest ones really don’t know what the scripture says?”

    “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

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  23. Hi, long time reader, don’t comment very often, but I thought I’d jump in and share some thoughts as an observer from a different part of the world (Melbourne, Australia).

    There’s currently a Royal Commission investigating systematic child abuse throughout the churches (basically a big public court hearing where victims can be freely heard by judges, who then investigate abuse claims).

    It began in response to abuses of Catholic children (Catholicism is the major religion in Australia), but as the investigation continued many victims came out of the Protestant & non-mainline churches – the most recent report dealt with Hillsong Church’s failure to report paedophilia within their ranks. While I’m merely an observer I am cautiously optimistic that in Australia, at least, the victims are being heard and spiritual institutions are being held accountable to their failings. [Here’s the link to the official reports if anyone’s interested – it’s very heavy stuff, so child abuse trigger warnings aplenty for the content: http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/%5D

    Whether that translates to a growing understanding of spiritual abuse, I don’t know. I think the common social consensus in AU is that religion tends to harm more than it helps – Atheism is our second largest religion (as in, it comes under the “religion” category in the national census). As more Aussies speak out against religion in general, religious Aussies appear to be increasingly defensive and there’s been a rise in influential Pentecostal political parties (Rise Up Australia, Family First) and a major political lobby group (Australian Christian Lobby), despite the fact Pentecostalism constitutes a mere 1-2% of the Australian religious population.

    [Full disclosure: I say this as a burnt-out currently deconverting Pente, married to a third generation Pente, but I have a Roman Catholic background, and most of my family are Atheist or Agnostic. My personal experiences of dysfunctional spirituality have probably not technically extended to abuse, unless being driven into financial and mental health ruin counts, and I’m undergoing psychological therapy to help me process the damage it’s caused me – so I’m not anti-religion but I’m, shall we say, not been in a good way for a long time and religion has been a major factor.]

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  24. At the risk of saying too much here,I’d like to gently respond to shunned and threatened’s claim that pastoral counsel knows no feedback mechanism; keep in mind that people who are deliberately injured often tend to leave and leave pastors out of a job. Yes, it happens more slowly than we’d like it to happen, but it does happen. Plus, a quick Google search does reveal that if your pastor (or Christian counselor) is certified by various Christian counseling boards, there is a code of ethics for which he can be punished.

    Not an entirely academic question for me–my family left a church a little over a year ago when we had some very big concerns about a video teacher they were using, and they completely misrepresented my concerns and refused to allow me to clarify–I basically got shouted down by the pastor and deacons. A few years previously, I’d left a church because we’d been told they were not KJVO, but the “pastor” relentlessly pushed KVJO materials (including ones that blatantly contradicted his chosen resources) and then berated me in public because the communion bread I’d baked wasn’t cut into small enough pieces.

    When we left, he then proceeded to send me KJVO books (David Sorenson’s) that more or less built the case for the KJV on personal attacks. Quite the piece of work, really.

    And I don’t try to be a royal pain in the patookie, but I guess I sure can play one on TV, can’t I? :^) Blessings to all.

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  25. The one thing I can say about Calvary Chapel that troubles me is their charismatic bent; not that charismatic theology leads to abuse in itself, but rather that they did not police the false prophecies of Chuck Smith. The other criticism (see wiki page) is that without a formalized church government structure to rein in pastors, each pastor becomes in effect his own bishop.

    In other words, the Berean system of Biblical accountability described in Acts appears to be at the very least compromised at Calvary Chapel in favor of what even advocates call a “Moses Model.”

    Which works great if you’re Moses and directly called by God, I guess, but not so hot if you’re a young punk out of seminary who really ought to be making arguments out of the authority of Scripture. But don’t just trust me, look it up for yourself and correct me if I’m wrong here.

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  26. It’s possibly worth adding a couple links I wrote a few years ago on the subject:

    http://www.ericpazdziora.com/antidotes-to-spiritual-abuse/ – Spiritually abusive tactics vs. things the Bible says.

    http://www.ericpazdziora.com/spiritual-abuse-files-the-untold-story-of-grace-on-a-snake/ – A wacky obscure OT story about a king who misrepresented grace.

    http://www.ericpazdziora.com/spiritual-abuse-awareness-month/ – A compendium of topics to do with abuse.

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  27. I tend to think spiritual abuse occurs because of the religious frameworks in place which we entangle ourselves in, thinking we are doing what God wants us to do.

    “Going to church”.

    “They went to the temple.

    Nothing changes.

    Compare the Temple and it’s leaders to today’s “Church” institutions.

    Compare the abuses in the NT by religious folk who knew not God.

    Same thing still going on.

    Abuse occurs because of carnality.

    “Walk not in the flesh”.

    We have an entire movement (Christianity) which I believe is modern day Temple worship (nothing new here) and we are starting to see how carnal it is.

    Consider all the empires now falling.

    ‘Pastors’ dethroned due to carnality.

    Where is the Spirit at work?

    I suggest it is not in these temples called Churches.

    It is at work in those who seek Him in quiet, and go about their day seeking to love the unlovable.

    Who God loves so much He gave His only Son for.

    Spiritual abuse occurs in the man-made Churches…

    because the Spirit of the Lord is not at home there.

    We need to get away from the building.

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  28. Fiona. Small word mate 😊

    I’m in Melbourne. Ex Hillsonger.

    There are no words to describe some of the creepy s. I witnessed there.

    At 17 I prayed, “God I’m so confused by what I am hearing please help me follow you”.

    I left shortly after and spent years in the IFB ‘movement’ becoming a Pharisee.

    Thank God I am now away from it all learning to rediscover grace and peace.

    Be keen to chat via email. If you’re keen maybe Julie Anne can forward you my email. 👍

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  29. G’day, Anonymous, appreciate the response. 🙂 At this stage I’m not keen on emailing others (protecting my privacy, had way too many negative experiences in private messaging contexts interacting with other Christians of all sorts) but I definitely hear you! In my case nondenominational Pente, still attached to the church community because it turns out extracting myself from my social network is easier said than done (especially when one of my kids really doesn’t want to leave) so I’m on the margins and have managed to offend a heap of people because of my dissenting views! sigh Hillsong are so influential even on the Aussie Pente churches that aren’t in the AOG/ACC crowd. I have a heap of in real life friends & acquaintances in Hillsong, not to mention C3 churches. Cheers

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  30. @shunnedandthreatened:

    This was the paraphrase of his prayer, with quotes on the very specifics—- Dear God, ……….. We know how much you hate division and how much you hate ‘this woman’ …………. “please strike her down with a stroke, please put her on her death bed’ Dear God please kill her.

    This is commonly called WITCHCRAFT. Specifically, putting a Hex on you, a Death Curse with the witch’s familiar spirit as the hit man.

    “O GREAT CHEMOSH! O GREAT BAAL! BRING DEATH AND DESTRUCTION DOWN UPON THESE MY ENEMIES!”
    — some Fifties Hollywood Bible Epic

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  31. @TruthDetector:

    I never saw anything amiss, but I visited one briefly some years ago, about 20 years removed from college. I spoke directly with leaders, wasn’t even there for church, but for business. But within minutes I could feel something terribly wrong.

    I live about 10-15 miles from Ground Zero of Calvary Chapel. Calvary Chapel dominated Christianese AM radio around here — Calvary Chapel WAS the only Real True Christianity; out here there was no salvation outside of Calvary Chapel.

    And I have always gotten the vibe of something WRONG with CC’s version of Christianity. Nothing I could put my finger on and say “AHA!”, but a general feel of something off. Like CC distills down everything that can go bad with Born Again Bible Believing Evangelical Christians.

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  32. One hard thing, just from social media experience and reading responses, is maintaining a balance between being a “real person” and staying on message when it comes to abuse (or any other issue, for that matter).

    I could probably share something abuse-related and discuss it every day on my Twitter platform, but it’s only going to appeal to a certain audience, an audience like you guys here, that don’t necessarily need it, and likely turn the rest off completely. What seems to resonate is a real person, one who’s growing, struggling, sharing the stories along the way as they come up organically. Then the audience is pushing back against a real person instead of an impersonal media entity if they disagree, and an honest discussion can happen instead of camp labels and dismissal. I think it’s important in getting the message out that we don’t turn into Anti-Abuse-Bot 2000’s, or we risk creating our own echo chamber, turning the discussion into us-vs-them rhetoric fights, or shutting off any discussion entirely. Who is our target audience, after all, in effecting change?

    Just thinking of Twitter here: nothing turns me off faster in an account than someone who does nothing but quote scripture, give canned responses about how awesome church is, and RT theologians. I have no idea who they are inside. There’s no personality there. They’re little better than Tony Miano cramming the gospel down someone’s throat on the street corner. If there’s no life context, frankly, I think the message is wasted. In the same way, single issue people wear thin. It’s a very human response, and one we do almost without realizing it – we tune out the familiar, the redundant. Heck, I do that even with folks I like and agree with.

    In the area of social media at least, those of us with personal abuse stories can be hugely effective in raising the awareness on these issues, often simply by being human, and honest. I’d be willing to bet folks learn and change their minds more often because they like someone than for any purely intellectual reasons. I think it’s good to keep this in mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. And an encouraging thought, from experience.

    I’ve had the opportunity to be a friend to my sister-in-law and give her a listening ear on some things, largely because of the way her daughter’s abuse by a teenager at her church has been handled and treated by those close to her. I find it very encouraging that, though she was raised in the Gothard mess, has read the Pearl’s and others, she’s a very intelligent, thinking individual that I believe feels very alone in her cognitive dissonance and wrestling with these issues. She’s got a decent handle on things like the priesthood of every believer, the importance of women’s voices in the church, etc, but without support from community, it’s so easy I’m sure for her to feel very alone in all this, and stay silent. Just being a listening ear for her and showing her she’s not alone has given her more confidence I think, and she’s been very appreciative simply that I and my wife took the time to listen to her.

    There’s folks around us hurting, needing courage and companionship in this fight.

    Like

  34. “This is commonly called WITCHCRAFT. Specifically, putting a Hex on you, a Death Curse with the witch’s familiar spirit as the hit man.” ————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    Nice thing is, “a causeless curse does not alight.”

    Like

  35. I’ve been a Christian about 40 years. I came to believe in Jesus by reading the New Testament on my own when I found one in a bag of used books I was given. About a year later my husband became a Christian, too, and after that we decided we should probably go to church. We wanted to find a church that taught the Bible and we settled happily into one that seemed to. Only it turned out to be a horrible, abusive personality cult that left us battered and broken for a long time. We then attended an E Free church with a wonderful pastor who was a professor of Greek, an excellent teacher. Unfortunately, he retired and the replacement was a screamer who gave me whiplash the first time he opened his mouth. No thanks. Then we found a group of folks were meeting together with an awesome Bible teacher and we went there for several years. Then we moved. One awful, horrible church experience after another for the next several years until finally I was done. I would think about the verse not to forsake meeting together and think I’m sorry, Lord, I just can’t do it, I can’t submit myself to this any longer, if this is sin, then so be it, please forgive me, but I cannot go through it again.

    We moved again and had no desire to go back to church at all for 8 years. Only recently after my husband was dxed with serious cancer we decided to try again to see if we could find a body of believers we could feel at home with. We lucked out and found a nice church that is grace oriented and non-controlling. I feel very apprehensive and honestly it makes me a little sick to my stomach just to sit in a church building but I’m giving it an honest try. My ability to trust is seriously damaged.

    But my point is, I have gone along all of these years thinking it was just me. There was nothing like this blog I could turn to and I was very alone through all of these experiences. It was only recently I found this page, I can’t even remember how I found it. It came up in a google search for something and I happened to stop and start reading and couldn’t stop. I followed a link to the Stuff Fundies Like page and have been reading voraciously ever since, following links, reading about abuse after abuse after abuse and cover up after cover up. I feel like my mind is exploding with validation and I’m stunned with how much worse of things go on.

    My husband has been teaching Sunday School and at times will bring up issues of spiritual abuse and there seems to be a strong response among people. I think many have dealt with it somewhere along the way. There are a lot of victims.

    All this to say, just give people time and the ability to find you, give them a chance to start reading, to find they are not alone. Keep supporting them. Keep a safe environment for them to talk and to listen. The numbers are going to keep growing. The key is for people to find you and to find support and validation when they do. Information is so accessible these days.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. One other thing. We’ve seen such a change in the secular world lately, of abuses being brought out in the open and dealt with. Look at the situation with the Catholic church lawsuits, or guys like Sandusky and Bill Cosby. It has taken a long time to get to this point and we have a long way to go, but I think the church will be following behind whether they like it or not. I don’t think they will be able to keep serious abuse hushed up like they used to. I’d love to see some lawsuits hit them where it hurts (in the wallet), I really think that’s the only thing that brings change.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Welcome Fiona and Anonymous from Australia! I have been reading about the commissions investigating the churches. Recently an article was posted on the SSB Facebook page about the Royal Commission’s findings in regard to Hillsong. Can you tell me what that means (besides the obvious)? Is the victim able to pursue any charges against the church now that they have been found to be negligent?

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Hi Kathi, to be honest I’m not 100% sure on how it pans out. My understanding is that a Royal Commission is essentially along the lines of a massive court case with an open-ended research component.
    The commissioners (a mix of high level judges and experts) can pursue and add lines of evidence that are related. They interview the victims, offer them support services. and then the perpetrators are called in to face a panel of judges to give their account of what happened. So far it seems the commission is standing up for the victims.

    It can, I think, lead to charging perpetrators with criminal offences, and it will likely lead to a change in laws in response. eg in the state of Victoria, where I live, the laws changed so that you have to get a “Working with children check” where basically you get a photo ID licence to work with under 18s – even if just a volunteer in a church or parent helper in a school. This licence can be revoked if there’s the slightest suspicion you’re a danger to kids. The commission can also point victims in the direction of legal and psychiatric advice.

    There’s a good summary here of what the commission intends to do: http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/about-us

    Hope that helps!

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Shy1 touches a nerve with me; when my family left the wannabe KJVO church, we also went to an E Free church, and it stunned me what portion of congregants/members there had about the same story; had been a member of our former church, visited and said “I don’t want to go back.”

    Not all had suffered any abuse; there was just a deadness there that people clued in to. I wonder if we might go somewhere with that.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Julie Anne

    You ask about Spiritual Abuse…
    “Is the Body of Christ understanding it
    as a legitimate abuse within the church?”

    In my experience…
    For most believers in the 501 c 3, IRS Corporation church…
    Spiritual Abuse does NOT exist…

    As long as they Pray, Pay, Stay, and Obey…

    For most believers in the 501 c 3, IRS Corporation church…
    Spiritual Abuse does NOT exist…

    Until they ask the wrong questions…
    Until they dis-agree…

    For most believers in the 501 c 3, IRS Corporation church…
    Spiritual Abuse does NOT exist…

    Until it happens to you. 😦 Oy Vey!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  41. @shunnednadthreatened:

    They outwardly and overtly teach the ‘Moses model’ meaning the men/pastors who flock to be associated with Calvary Chapel– specifically are doing so because of the protection and non-accountability of the ‘Moses model’ the Moses model means the pastor is God’s modern day Moses, Moses was the final decision maker and no one was allowed to question or complain about Moses— “do not touch my anointed’ is their rally call. So anyone even trying to point out a sinful pastor and get help is considered immediately sinful for ‘touching God’s anointed’— they do not believe or perhaps even know anything about God’s methods of Biblical accountability.

    The Moses Model = Divine Right of Pastor/Dictators.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. @govpappy:

    Just thinking of Twitter here: nothing turns me off faster in an account than someone who does nothing but quote scripture, give canned responses about how awesome church is, and RT theologians. I have no idea who they are inside.

    I do.
    They’re dummies stuffed with straw and with an MP3 recorder of canned SCRIPTURE(TM) one-liners for a mouth.

    Like

  43. Thank you, Fiona, for the explanation. That is helpful.

    A photo i.d. to work with children when you pass a background check….that is an interesting idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Having the background checks is a good idea to start with. There is one very large problem though. In the (Glen Acres Church of Christ in Seattle) where I grew up— they have a decades long child sexual abuse cover up that is still going on. The issue is this—– When churches and leadership are so corrupt and actually involved in the sex abuse and/or covering for good friends and relatives— it becomes confusing (even for law enforcement) This is because of 2 things:

    1. they loudly proclaim that “WE conduct background checks” But what they don’t say is— we already know and have CONFESSED child molesters here, but they said ‘sorry’ so we never turned them in and yes we let them still teach Sunday school because they are related to us and they said ‘sorry’—
    2. Some of these horrible Child Abuse factories are hiding so much, BUT, if for some reason someone outside of their little world reports and abuse of someone in their midst, they will rally to support the police and investigation etc. So, it makes people who are trying to point out that their are child molesters teaching Sunday school look crazy because of these purposeful mixed messages that are being sent to the public and to the police.

    It seems to me that anyone who confesses to child molestation should automatically be banned from leadership or interaction with other people’s children. Doesn’t seem like that should be up for debate, but boy is it ever in these sex abuse cults.

    Liked by 3 people

  45. One thing regarding background checks is that they really only catch criminal abuse, which tends to be the physical and sexual kind–the other kinds don’t “leave a mark” and even if laws allowed prosecution, it would be difficult to prove in court. Since most spiritual abuse doesn’t leave a physical mark, background checks are going to be a dicey way of preventing spiritual abusers from gaining power at best, IMO.

    Really, even for obvious physical marks, it’s dicey, because the average molester molests 8 to 240 kids (lower # is for girls, upper is for boys) and gets caught once or twice. So background checks don’t really catch molesters/abusers as they tell people that someone is watching.

    Which might be the attitude–that of the Bereans really–that we ought to cultivate wherever we are. We are watching for bad logic and mis-application of Scripture. Or ought to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. The elected leaders (and hired preacher) at the new church where some in our family attend seem sensitive to spiritual abuse. This may be because there are several refugee families from our old church who have found there way there, and we all have similar stories that we told the “elders” upon our arrival, broken and wary.

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  47. If churches really cared about abuse, they would have clearly written policies that they made people aware of. Such as, weird stuff like went on with Gothard– things that are difficult to quantify– grown married men spending huge amounts of time with teenage girls alone? This was how it was all the time in the Glen Acres Church of Christ that I grew up in. It was ‘normal’ for us teens from bad homes to be picked up by these ‘leaders’ and go out to dinner with them and spend lots of time alone, at night etc. Some were abused and some were not, but when my daughters reached my age it all came crashing down on how bizarre and wrong it was. Churches should have policies against these things– But many like the one I mentioned still stand their ground today and say there is nothing wrong with it. But once we were grown adults we have found out that these ‘leaders’ who were married with families but choosing to spend tons of alone time with teenage girls were telling other ‘leaders’ and their own families that the girls needed ‘counseling’ t hat we had so many ‘problems’ that is why they needed to be withus. When the truth was we never talked about problems at all, they just took us out alone, had dinner, talked about God, talked about how proud they were of us etc. So very bizarre looking back from an adult perspective. But how do you quantify perversion?????? How do you prove perversion???? you can’t, that is why churches need to have overt, safe, clear standards, policies and reporting systems.

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  48. Shunned, policies are great–I’ve written some myself–but they really are no substitute for an attitude that no one–not even King David–is immune from a rebuke. If we have the attitude of Nathan, the only policy we need is the Scriptures illuminated by the Holy Spirit through our consciences.

    For example, I would be very surprised if IBLP and Vision Forum didn’t have a boatload of procedures–that was really the essence of Pharisaism that turned 200 pages of Torah into 15 volumes or so of Talmud. Fence off all the opportunities through sin in a torrent of paperwork!

    Or not. One of the policies I’ve written–one to describe common opportunities for child abuse in churches–I deliberately shortened to seven basic principles so that people could remember it. It might be fair to argue that it was not as comprehensive as some of the 25 or 50 page things I’ve seen, but you know what? People knew those policies quickly. I think we were safer as a result.

    (on the light side, the one that got a lot of weeping and blubbering was, of course, the prohibition of men changing diapers…..had a lot of male tears on my shoulder over that one….not.. )

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Hi Kathi,

    Here in Canada, to work with children in any type of church endeavor, for example, one must go to their local R.C.M.P. (police) station and get finger printed and an ‘all clear’ letter to be put on record at their church–before anyone is permitted to work among children. This has been common practice for a number of years now. Yet, we were also informed that people/names can slip through the cracks. At least this is a good start.

    Liked by 2 people

  50. @shunnedandthreatened

    If churches really cared about abuse, they would have clearly written policies that they made people aware of.

    Absolutely. I’ve shared this video a few years ago, but it bears repeating.

    Less than 10% of sexual abusers will ever encounter the criminal justice system. The latest study out is less than 4%.

    95% or more of those people who wish to hurt our children have no record.

    This is why background checks, though absolutely essential, will not screen for the majority of offenders.

    Sexual abusers go to where the barriers of protection are the lowest. . . Where is the protection barrier the lowest? Church. Always has been.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Fiona & Barb –

    Churches are not required to do background checks on volunteers working with children, but most schools, hospitals and non-profits that work with children do it. I think it’s good practice. However, like Bike Bubba said, some people can fall through the cracks – especially those who have no criminal record.

    Like

  52. @BikeBubba yes, you are correct— loads of paperwork won’t do it, but it is a start– at least a basic outline of what the church believes or is committed to trying to do. At Calvary Chapel, as far as I can see, there are no written policies of any type– no clergy confidentiality (even though most would assume that in a counseling situation) not even a basic ability to report mistreatment to the Pastor– at least if there were written policies the membership might notice that things are not being followed. When there are no ‘rules’ or guidelines everyone goes back to the thinking that the “Pastor’ is making all the decisions so it is okay.

    I am still hoping there will someday be a law that holds churches accountable for allowing known child molesters to be teaching children without ever informing the parents. that is so deeply disturbing to me. As teens we were sent to overnights (youth group) at a known rapists house and also at a child molesters house (who was our leader)— If I was a parent and found out that happened to my child I would probably have to rip someones head off.

    @beentheredonethat I am going to watch the video now— thanks for sharing it.

    Like

  53. @shunnedandthreatened:

    In the (Glen Acres Church of Christ in Seattle) where I grew up— they have a decades long child sexual abuse cover up that is still going on. The issue is this—– When churches and leadership are so corrupt and actually involved in the sex abuse and/or covering for good friends and relatives— it becomes confusing (even for law enforcement)

    Did Glen Acres Church’s Righteous cluck their tongues and point their fingers at those Romanist Pedophile Priests? (“We Thank Thee, LOORD, That We are Nothing Like…”)

    JMJ over at Christian Monist once related that in the small Tennessee church where he grew up, one of the top staff (not the Pastor, but definitely one of the assistants or Youth Pastor or Choir Leader) was known to be a pedophile. This was an open secret That Must Not Be Talked About. The Respectable Church People protected their own kids from Pastor Pedo by deliberately steering new members with kids to him. i.e. “Rape their kids, not mine!”

    Like

  54. @shunnedandthreatened:

    At Calvary Chapel, as far as I can see, there are no written policies of any type– no clergy confidentiality (even though most would assume that in a counseling situation) not even a basic ability to report mistreatment to the Pastor– at least if there were written policies the membership might notice that things are not being followed. When there are no ‘rules’ or guidelines everyone goes back to the thinking that the “Pastor’ is making all the decisions so it is okay.

    Even if Calvary Chapel Pastor Moses Model wants to hold Satanic Black Masses with child sacrifice?

    “Touch not Mine Anointed! Do My Pastor No Harm!”

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  55. @Headless Unicorn Guy, yes Glen Acres Church is very quick to point out everyone else– Catholics etc. and their issues. In fact, just this year one of the leaders was yelling at me and said, why don’t you go down the street to x church were they are having a problem with sex abuse right now..LOL This is out of the mouth of the current education director that is allowing confessed child molester to teach sunday school to children.——— The blindness and wickedness could not get any deeper than that.

    At Glen Acres Church of Christ in Seattle, some of their public and private statements are scary: ‘She was 16 years old’- ‘she was very tall for her age’—
    ‘The child molester was sorry’, ‘you know she was very loose’– ‘you know she wasn’t a virgin when she got married’– ‘we are not in the business of turning in repentant Christians’– ‘we told the kids to stay away from the rapist– they didn’t listen’—- and on and on it goes. And still goes, the sex abuse scandal at Glen Acres has been going on for about 40 years– no kidding— and the cover up continues today, the punishment and threats to the witnesses continues, and the allowing known child molesters access to children continues— all without the general publics knowledge as they send their kids to sunday school. So sad and sick. AND the child molester still there is a ‘certified public school teacher’ and the Education Director that allows it is a ‘certified public school teacher’—- And they are so bold because they have dodged all the laws and all accountability.

    @BTDT that is an awesome video— I would love to see one of those on the how the narcissist pastors and leaders get into power and how to spot them and how to not allow them in etc. But that entire website is valuable. I have several pastors who will want to watch as they have asked me how to begin to have knowledge in this area. There are some pastors who are becoming aware and want to become wise instead of ignorant.

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  56. Yes, Julie Anne,

    It is important to keep beating this drum! There are many new people experiencing despair and disillusionment as they, too, encounter spiritual abuse in their churches.

    I have referred many people to SSB and TWW so that they can read for themselves that first of all, they are not alone! Second, that they can be informed by what other issues are going on the Christian landscape. People can be supported in their need to recover and then be empowered to DO SOMETHING about spiritual abuse.

    If each person tells someone, that automatically doubles the numbers. Many people have found their voice and are able to articulate what they have experienced and how others can avoid getting themselves entangled in unhealthy church communities. It may seem slow, but it is definitely steady!

    I liked what Dee and Deb stated regarding their journey:

    “When we launched The Wartburg Watch, we felt a great deal of despair as Christian women. Hyper-authoritarianism was on the rise, and we felt helpless to do anything to reverse the trend. Now we have an effective way to speak out about matters that concern us, and so do our followers!”

    Yes, having a voice and being heard by others is slowly raising awareness regarding spiritual abuse and recovery. I am getting daily hits on my Church Exiters website from a worldwide basis. Many people continue to contact me for support and assistance in dealing with their personal church dilemma. People are looking for answers and each of us can do what we can to provide information and compassion so that others can be informed, encouraged, and empowered!

    Liked by 2 people

  57. i made a reply, which is contrary to the heretic head hunters, and the post was not posted. LOL. Too funny. Nothing like hearing a bunch of Sunday morning pew warmers, condeming other brothers and sisters in Christ. And then, the utmost someone creating a site for the condemnation. Well, good for you. Only Christ is the judge, and he will judge all. No need to condemn anyone, only if you are the judge. Hope all had a nice life.

    Like

  58. Louse, I approved the only 2 posts I’ve seen from you. The one on this thread, and the one on the infant loss thread. Did you have another post? There is nothing of yours in the spam folder.

    Like

  59. @ louise

    Some of us are no longer “pew warmers” (or are very hesitant to return to church or the faith) because we were hurt by people who said they were Christian.

    louise said,

    Only Christ is the judge, and he will judge all. No need to condemn anyone, only if you are the judge. Hope all had a nice life.

    Concerning salvation, I guess that is accurate, but the New Testament says that at times, Christians are to judge other Christians.

    Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 5):

    So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

    And, from that same chapter, Paul wrote:

    What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

    Louise, just based on this post of yours, and the one on infant loss in the last one, you said like a very unsympathetic person and very hostile.

    I cannot imagine a hurting, emotionally wounded Christian seeking you out for love or encouragement, and the Bible says to “weep with those who weep.”

    You don’t sound like you’re the sort of person who would weep with the weeping, but rather to shake your index finger in their face and scold them and ironically, judge them.

    Liked by 2 people

  60. I have experienced spiritual abuse first hand. There was once a forum called ‘factnet’ that my old “church” was a main feature of…but it has surprised me that it has never been featured on this blog or others of a similar voice.

    It was part of the shepherding movement in the 1980’s & got kicked off a number of uni campuses. Its name back then was Maranatha. Then it renamed itself as Morning Star & then again as Every Nation.

    The same leader who was part of leadership since 1994 has never made a public apology (which is the least he could do). He is now the well-liked author of God’s Not Dead.

    Myself & thousands of others have tried to pick up the pieces of our lives partially destroyed by intense freaky controlling “discipleship”. Our particular “branch” of the international brand of churches…had one of the worst cases of heavy-handed leaders.

    The main overall leader never apologized 4 the disgrace & mess this couple left behind. The number of girls in the church I knew back then have almost all walked away from God. This is singlehandedly the fault of these leaders who destroyed beautiful hearts of the naive.

    I have a story too big to share here. Part of it involved cover up of date rape by a member in the church. But because he had a “big testimony” they never believed the victim. They almost protected this guy rather than expose him.

    Unfortunately a lawyer was contacted (far too many years later…when the girl felt strong enough to “fight” the case) & too much time had passed to press charges.

    I hope this blog starts to put the pressure on Rice Broocks for a public acknowledgment & apology. This is all we want.

    Thanks 4 allowing our voice 2b heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  61. Shunned, if the facts about Glen Acres church are as you say–I’m obviously in no position to verify or refute them–it’s time to just get out. If they are knowingly allowing someone with a child abuse/molestation/whatever conviction to work in children’s ministries, there are other “blind spots” that will be dangerous to you and those you love. Cut your losses….

    The only thing I might do in addition is talk to a lawyer–your first consultation is generally free–and have them write a letter to the church warning them that knowingly allowing someone with such a criminal conviction is to risk all Hell breaking loose for them if someone gets hurt there. I’ve personally warned about such many times, pointing out that it’s a great way to lose the whole facility in a civil case. I’m guessing the impact would be greater if it came from a lawyer.

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  62. @ bubba we are out and have been out. We are worried about the children and the other people they are hurting to keep it quiet. This is the problem. ALL of the church child molesters do NOT have convictions because the church doesn’t believe in turning them in. The church believes if they ‘repent’ (which means saying sorry to the leaders) (never anything to the victim) that is all they had to do and t hen they would offend again and apologize again. Seriously– it is so out of this world — but they have threatened and damaged the people so badly they all just ran away. so they know the people are child molesters– they have confessed and been caught etc. but to the world they ‘brag’ ‘we do background checks’ Well of course– but they still let confessed child abusers in leadership and teaching. AND, go full force to destroy anyone who tries to make it known.

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  63. Shunned: sigh, and not a whole lot we can do except warn that church and her members/attendees about the consequences. Make sure you’ve got things documented, or else you risk a lawsuit yourself.

    I remember the “Maranatha” group that No Longer Naive mentions. Very active around Michigan State when I was a young pup, and an even worse example of how Calvary Chapel is described–charismatic with a strong Moses leadership model (sans God’s anointing of course) and no discipline for false prophecies.

    Like

  64. I have been part of a UPC church. I have been excluded for years in that church. Just two examples are I went up to someone the other day to say Hello and the Assistant Pastor walked up behind me to listen in. I turned around and she said Hello to me. Ordinarily she just walks past me and ignores me. One of the highly respected people in the church believe I need counselling. Last Sunday was a terrible day for me at that church my husband picks up every week this Samoan woman who stands up and worships he shunned me and was nice to her. Previously I went to Assistant Pastor about these lifts and she said we don’t get involved. So now they are watching me.

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  65. Naomi Esther, I am sorry for the hurt and pain you are having by being shunned at church. it is so wrong that the place where we should feel safe and loved can be so cruel. Praying for you, and just know that the people here will love you and will not hurt you. Jesus is always with you and He loves you and will never leave you.

    Like

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