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Spiritual Abuse: What Was the Last Straw That Caused You to Leave Your Abusive Church?

Spiritual Abuse – What finally made you realize you had to leave your church?

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spiritual abuse

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I had already told my husband that I had to leave BGBC, with or without him, but I was hoping that he would come to the same conclusion without my influence. That finally happened after our close friend who was on staff was fired. My husband finally saw CON’s character and a show of rage and anger we had never seen before when we were all together at a private meeting along with the two elders (one who has since left).

But prior to that, the most difficult part of going to church at BGBC was CON and the continual spiritual beatings week after week after week. I got tired of the repetitious preachings, the same pet verses, most of them about the law, the wrath of God, sin, evil, lake of fire, etc.

There was one sermon in the 2+ yrs that I recall which had an emphasis on grace. That sermon was unique because it was after the loss of his close friend by suicide. I complimented him on that sermon’ it was probably the only positive comment he ever got from me about sermons, but that one Sunday of grace was never to be repeated while we were there.

I could not continue to be berated each week, I could not continue checking my salvation each week.  I thought Christ’s death on the cross had given me victory. I thought that if I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and confessed my sins, I would be saved. Why was I still needing to be concerned about my salvation? Was all of my previous devotion to Christ a fraud?

Everything CON did seemed to have conflict or a battle of some kind. When he came back from meeting various people outside the church (other pastors, leaders, etc), we’d hear reports of how wrong these people were, how off they were in their theology, how they were going down a wrong path. No one had it right except Chuck O’Neal, and everything had to pass his test. It seems he wanted us to be cookie cutter clones of Chuck O’Neal. Even if we were, he’d still find something wrong with us, because there’s only one CON.

So for me, I was done with the incessant spiritual beatings. I longed for Abba Father, the Father who comforts, protects, loves, collects every tear, rejoices over me with singing.

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17

How about you? What was the last straw for you?

 

 

 

photo credit:  Colleen

138 thoughts on “Spiritual Abuse: What Was the Last Straw That Caused You to Leave Your Abusive Church?”

  1. The tragedy is that I can believe all these stories.

    In the ’90s my dad started a web page and his style is pretty rough-and-ready, but he doesn’t have patience with those who devour and abuse the flock of God. We also only use the KJV and are doctrinally Baptistic. Well, it wasn’t long before the horror stories began to trickle in as readers saw his compassion for the hurting. We thought they were “singular events” at first, but as time went on we began to see there was a trend and there was a a lot of abuse going on in IFB churches as well as others. My dad (who was a pastor for years) has counselled a lot of people over the years in these situations – mostly not long term, but in one or two emails and/or phone calls. He’s repeatedly told them to leave quietly – just get out, don’t stay. We’d seen abusiveness among these types previously, but we had no idea how widespread it was till he started that web page. (As one point – any church that gives Jack Hyles any shred of respect is on our “do not go there” list.)

    My husband and I both have our own stories to tell (don’t have time tonight, maybe later), and we both came to realize the problems before we even got married, so for us, we’re sensitive to which way things are going in the church we attend. We know the perils and have our eyes open, by the grace of God, and I hope we won’t be fooled again like we were in the past. But, for those who have been down the primrose path to end up at the horrors of spiritual abuse my heart hurts. Neither of us were raised in that, nor did we give long years of our lives to it, but what we have experienced makes me realize that it is hard to overestimate or overstate the damage that is done to some people. The stories here confirm that.

    And, I think Mr. Atchison was so right when he said we should comfort one another with the comfort we’ve received. Sometimes we may wonder why we had these tragic experiences. Some of it is impossible to explain. But, if the knowledge that we gained can become a rod in our own hands to defend helpless lambs and sheep from those who would blasphemously destroy them in the name of our sweet and kind Savior, then it is not wasted. It may have injured us badly, but it may work together for someone else’s good, and this will in a small measure redeem the tragedy. Sharing these stories is one way to do this.

    2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cindy Burrell,

    I appreciated your comment. This part stood out to me.

    “This is how we know when the church we are in is biblical: when the character and nature of God is revealed with such simple and wondrous clarity that we are drawn to Him and hunger to know Him better, for as we begin to see His heart, we cannot help but find Him utterly irresistible.”

    Yes, exactly. Through all the pain and distress that so many people experience through the church and church leadership in particular, people slowly are reconnected to God’s heart and what knowing him should be all about. The contrast is astounding.

    Agreed: “for as we begin to see His heart, we cannot help but find Him utterly irresistible.” This is so beautiful, since it is so TRUE.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Phoenixtatgirl aka my daughter, Hannah, to see your words makes me gasp. That couldn’t have happened in my home, with my adult child. Yet I was part of that and went along with that as a submissive wife. To think that I could go along with that and the pastor’s “counsel” horrifies me. What a hell hole we were in. I think I will be apologizing to you for the rest of my life. Thank you for forgiving me.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. he made a false accusation at work. He claimed that I was a threat to him and his family. My boss who is a retired US Army LC disciplined me on only hearing one side of the story.

    Knocking his Ring as he did so?

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  5. @Barb O,

    Barb, Do you know anything about the status of the recent research project being done by a woman graduate student (from Texas, I thought) about spiritual abuse. Many answered her questionnaire. Has she been in touch with you?

    Thank you.

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  6. Received some counselling and it was more like beat up shaming, get over it ,move on, just memorise these scriptures and be happy…the things I struggled with was I just couldnt forgive and move on…it was all my fault.
    They were more interested in how they looked than really helping.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. @nessa3,

    I am so sorry you were subjected to that. It also doesn’t surprise me. The majority of “Biblical Counseling” should be called what it is: malpractice.

    My former NeoCal church were the same way…beat up sessions, verbal abuse, demands, lectures, from pastors/elders who had no love, no professional trainining, and no common decency. In order to escape these stupid sessions with them, I’d have (as well as others) “throw them a bone” and act like they’d been super helpful. That was the only way to get them to back off.

    When they excommunicated/order to be shunned any godly Christian for dissent with them, the pastors/elders would lie and tell the entire church membership how much they “had worked” with so-and-so. “Worked” means how much they had beaten up and verbally abused some poor soul.

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  8. I know this is nothing compared to some of the nightmare situations described in these previous comments…yet my moment came when my pastor who had known me my entire life and given premarital counseling to my husband and myself seemed to care largely about defending himself when we brought him some very real hurt.

    Some of his comments did seem to acknowledge the abuse which had been inflicted on me in the name of corporal discipline and the real physical and psychological hurt which had been done by it. And yet he was very defensive about his teachings having never condoned or encouraged such discipline. Multiple of his defensive comments directly contradicted the printed material I still have from premarital counseling. I took that material very seriously at the time- who knows how many other brand-new families have, too!

    My husband’s moment of clarity came partly then and partly when he realized that the pastor, elders, and many church members talked about local fellowship and ministry out of one side of their mouth but then really encouraged his parents and family to join the church (an hour and a half drive at least, putting the possibility of much fellowship or ministry to them at about nil). Then, after having been members for some years, when his father was ill and in and out of the hospital, without a full-time caregiver, at the point of having multiple falls in his unsafe home environment and hiding food in his pockets because he wasn’t always getting meals due to strange family schedules and dynamics, the church’s view, continuing over months and months and months of this, was to pray instead of to visit him or try to help him toward health.

    It’s so messed up when a great God is preached, but when His active love is only shown to people who fit a certain mold. When theology is paramount and relationship goes out the window (but shouldn’t relationship be theology in action?). When who you appear to be on Sunday morning really matters and the rest of the week doesn’t. When adults who say the right holy-sounding words and cry the right broken tears are welcomed into full fellowship while the (often younger) ones whom they hurt are made then to believe they have no right to feel hurt and need to seek out and deal with their own sinful root of bitterness if they feel hurt.

    Should not a healthy theology lead to healthy relationships? Should not active love for God naturally spill over into active love for neighbors? In my opinion, silence benefits no one in the end. Not the one who is hurting, not the one who inflicted the hurt, not the one who counseled them to cover it up. I’m tired of people pretending that just because a church does some good things, we’re not supposed to ever identify real issues that need work. Or that if you have received hurt in a relational situation, you only have responsibility for yourself so you must only deal with your own sin, not deal with or even identify anyone else’s. So a trusted church, one who holds itself up as giving the correct teaching on the Biblical family, fails one family by giving parents ammunition for hurting children instead of giving guidelines not to, and turns their back on on another family who has given them years of membership and money…but, but, but, they’re helping so many families! Just see how many families are happily here on Sunday morning! Let’s focus on that!

    Or what about focusing on being gentle to hurting children or hurting elderly members? Nope, sorry…what hurting children…? Happy, disciplined children here…

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  9. Velour,

    Thanks for asking. Kathryn completed her dissertation and oral defense a number of months ago. She is now doing an internship for a year as the last section to complete for her PhD program. No, I haven’t seen the dissertation yet. I will tell her that you were enquiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I just visited the church exiters site and downloaded the survey. When I get time, I’ll fill it out.

    I’m also glad that people are cautioned not to fill out the survey if it would cause them emotional trauma. That’s highly important for those of us who are still wounded and haven’t properly healed.

    By the way, do you folks find that certain Bible verses trigger bad memories? I find that happens quite often, chiefly because those verses were used to hurt me. The elder woman of the sick house church used many verses about faith to guilt me into working up my faith. Whenever my eyes weren’t healed after the laying on of hands, I felt so guilty and suicidal. I’m glad I didn’t take my life and that God rescued me from that wicked woman and her lover who ran that terrible place.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. @gentlesusan:

    the church’s view, continuing over months and months and months of this, was to pray instead of to visit him or try to help him toward health.

    From long experience, “I’ll Pray For You(TM)” is Christianese for “I can’t be bothered”.

    “You have a saying: ‘We will Pray For You’.
    Well, we also have a saying: ‘PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS!'”
    — paraphrase of dialog exchange from Babylon 5

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  12. Hi Barb O.,

    Thanks for the update about Kathryn’s research. Kudos to her for completing her dissertation and oral defense. Wishing her the best of luck with her internship and obtaining her PhD. I hope her work will add to the important body of work being done on this topic.

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  13. Nothing dramatic. Just a steady drip of being treated as though I was a dependent child who needed to believe that the 2 things running our country into the ground were women’s right and same-sex marriage. Never a word about corporate greed nor government corruption.

    There were 2 “last straws, or maybe, “big drips:” #1–pastor refused to marry a couple who had been living together and wanted to make it legal and support his folks by joining the congregation. Pastor said, “move away from each other and live chastely for 6 months, THEN come back and ask me again .” The couple married elsewhere, joined anyway, and are very supportive of the church.
    #2–A friend’s congregation needs a new pastor as the present one took a call out of state. The church body’s hq will not “give them permission” to begin the call process (hiring) for a full year so that they “can wean themselves away from the old pastor.” W? T? H?

    I’m probably “A Done” at this point. When I was a child my church began teaching me logically and respectfully and responsibly what to believe. I know what I believe. I’ve observed most pastors in my church careless about visiting the sick; if, God forbid, I should be in hospital, I will request the chaplain counsel me. I’ve had my memorial service written out for years–anyone can lead it. My children. Were raised the best I could provide in the faith and are on good paths, if not my own. I’ve been blessed with an ability to join organizations that j retest me and make a few good friends along the way for a loose-knit but fond community.

    I know what I offer a congregation: financial support and another voice in singing and recitations.
    I don’t really see what membership offers me.
    Which is not to say I won’t go! But I’ll not care if my name is on the membership roll and I won’t care about pleasing anybody simply because of their title.
    I am a tax paying adult, no longer a seeking child. I appreciate being treated as such, everywhere, including any gathering of believers I might attend.
    Thanks for asking.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. BeenThereDoneThat, I’m sorry that you got caught up in the infant discipline thing. I can imagine how you must regret it. I wish there was a way to warn everyone about the danger involved.

    God is able to restore and heal. Although I sidestepped the infant stuff, I did get taken in on other childraising ideas that were wrong and harmful. I came to realize more and more how differently I would do things if I had it to do over. I made a point to tell each of my kids, to talk this over and apologize to them. They forgave me but it still hurts, I still have regrets.

    We all have made mistakes and hindsight is 20-20, right? But I wish the church was not the instigating factor leading us to make mistakes!

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  15. This is the diabolical plan of Satan. He smears Christ by getting pastors and teachers to mislead followers. It’s a perfect form of sabotage and it’s unfortunately working well. This is why I pray daily for new believers that they won’t drift into an abusive church.

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  16. I f I never again hear the words, “but of course that’s because s/he/ you are not saved right now”, it will be too soon.
    Because, you know, I don’t think we go around “losing” salvation. Like, you know, a used kleenex or something……

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  17. I’m not really sure if there was a “last straw that got me to leave”, but in the church I was part of during college, there were two “turning points” for me. One, was when I told the woman who was my prayer partner at the time that I wanted to focus on other areas of my life and not worry about having visitors to Bible study and church. Her response: “I think you ought to expect to have visitors.” That’s when I knew: there was no way out. I was always going to be expected to invite, invite, convert, convert; and when I failed at that, I was going to be bashed for it. Two, was when I got a letter from a friend in a church in another city that had been part of the movement I had been part of and was trying to move away from. She wrote that they talked about grace, and I wasn’t hearing that in my church. Something clicked in my head, and I thought, “If I can just survive until I get there.” That’s when I decided to move to that city, for that reason–I wanted grace.

    That particular church, unfortunately, dissolved two years after I got there. The leaders there went totally to the opposite extreme to the point that you could believe whatever you wanted to, as long as you believed in God and believed in Jesus. At the encouragement of the leaders, many of us–myself included–went into independent house churches. I lasted there for five years, and I think the final straw for me was an argument that took place in my apartment, where someone said either that sin didn’t separate you from God, or that sin didn’t separate you from the love of God. Someone said that that teaching was dangerous, and the room exploded. I expected the disagreers to come to blows. Because of my indoctrination in the previous church I’d been part of, I didn’t think I could leave and go to another church. The man I would eventually marry was also part of that house church group, and I feared losing that relationship. Right before we got married, he told me he was thinking about buying a townhouse for us to live in after we got married. Buying property meant a sort of permanence. That’s when I knew I had to tell him, the house churches are not working, and it’s time for us to get out. We decided to leave that city and start over fresh. We’re in a better church now.

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  18. From HUG: “From long experience, “I’ll Pray For You(TM)” is Christianese for “I can’t be bothered”. ”

    I can definitely see where you would think/say that, because it’s often true.

    A woman in my ladies’ group, however, does take a request for prayer seriously enough so that when someone asks her, will you pray for me? she will do it right then and there.

    Too many people are not that serious about prayer.

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  19. I sure despise that false doctrine about losing one’s salvation. So many folks have been tormented with thoughts of eternal damnation because of that lie.

    If I ever get my act together and write my next book, I’ll have to include the assurance of salvation in it. How wonderful that no matter how badly we mess up, our Lord and Saviour is willing to forgive us and clense us from ALL unrighteousness. Our God is awesome and so loving.

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  20. I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience with house churches. I also had a bad experience and I gained a lot of comfort by writing about how God led me from the expectations of works to the grace that knows no boundaries. Sure sin does separate us from God but not permanently. All we do is ask for forgiveness and learn to trust him more.

    I liken it to a piano teacher who doesn’t expel students because they play the wrong notes or press two adjacent notes at the same time.

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  21. Bruce, the major problem with the house church group I was part of was that it was formed as a direct result of an abusive church experience. When you do something as a reaction to something else, you end up committing some of the same errors as the people you were trying to get away from.

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  22. How interesting. In my case, the house church was formed by a man who disagreed with the doctrines of the Pentecostal church he attended. He glommed onto a woman who became his sheepdog and let him set up a church in her basement. She was in love with him, even though he was married. His wife was in love with another man who was a church member but left it due to a church split. Worse yet, the man lived in the same house as the phoney minister of that house church. When I dared to mention it one day, the sheepdog said I didn’t understand and that nothing untoward was going on between the minister’s wife and the ex-church member. What a toxic church that was and I’m so glad to be rid of it. As far as I know, it no longer exists.

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  23. After experiencing confusion and spiritual distress for 5 years (my last 5 years of participating in ‘Evangelicalism’), I was sitting in Church one Sunday morning waiting for the service to begin. I had an experience where the Lord spoke to me. This was not supposed to happen, since our Church taught JMac-Style “cessationism” and that God does not speak in any way to people anymore, other than via the pages of the Bible. So this experience was not part of our accepted theology. He said to me, “Is this what you are choosing over ME?” I was shocked and heartbroken, and jarred awake so to speak.

    Next week I was sitting in the fellowship hall after service, and I was chatting with my best girlfriend at Church. I had previously that week sent an email letter to our pastor, pouring out my heart to him about the spiritual and emotional exhaustion I was experiencing, after a year (2009) of giving care to many different people in my life who had gone though a number of different crises and trials, such as paralyzing stroke, cancer, devastating loss of loved one (I can’t share here what happened), and my elderly grandmother dying (i helped my mother care for her at home during the last weeks). In my letter I was looking for just a shoulder to cry on, and some pastorly encouragement. In response I got some berating by him, some criticism for saying “yes” to too many people and basically helping others too much. In other words, it was my own fault.

    Incredibly, I went back to Church after getting this letter, which left me feeling ashamed of myself, confused, discouraged and more hurt than I was before. I addressed it to the pastor only. So I’m sitting there in the fellowship hall with everybody in the Church, and the pastor’s wife, whom I did NOT want to discuss my feelings with, talks to me from across the room (from another table) so that everybody can hear saying, “oh I’m so sorry about all the terrible things you have gone through that must be so hard!! ohh!!” and such. In other words, she read my letter that I sent her husband, much to my shock. And she was bringing up MY privately shared business in front of everybody in the Church, destroying the privacy of my correspondence. I just sat there, dumbfounded like an idiot. She was acting all concerned and sorry for me.

    Later when I asked her about this incident she said that yes, she always reads all the mail her husband gets from women because that is their policy, since they are trying to avoid ministry- relational indiscretions blah blah blah …. a policy they adopted after this being advised by one of the Reformed pastor Guru-pastors advised it (likely something picked up from the Shepherd’s conference). Fine. But i did not know about this before I decided to spill my guts to my pastor. I did NOT want to talk to the pastor’s wife or I would have. I was looking for pastoral counsel or spiritual encouragement and I got shamed and embarrassed instead. I thin realized this Church was spiritually abusive and I was never going to be safe there. Last straw! This added to a hundred other stories I have, things that happened previous to this, and I was out from The IC System for good. Its been 6 years now and I’m fine. : ) Thanks for letting us share!

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  24. What a terrible experience. How sad it is that pastors and their wives don’t exercise more discretion. What we write to ministers and pastors should stay confidential. If I were a pastor, that’s what I’d do. I’d keep personal matters personal. Shame on anybody for sharing gossip or personal business which is nobody else’s business!

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  25. This is very raw for me, as I have just left the church I’ve been a member of since 1998. It was long overdue, and I have apologized to my sons for not doing this long ago.

    My main problem is that whenever there was a conflict, the counsel was that the person who had been offended was wrong, and that he needed to forgive. Mind you, the offender did not repent or ask for forgiveness or admit any wrong. In fact, if the offense was even addressed, it was excused by something like “You’re too sensitive.” Never once anything like, “I’m sorry. I certainly didn’t mean to hurt you. Help me understand why that was hurtful.” There was never any change by the offender. The offense was always deflected and even defended by blaming the victim.

    Ironically, even the “released from membership” letter I received from the pastor (after a phone conversation with a different Elder) gave the counsel “you need to forgive” with no mention of wanting to better understand any outstanding issues.

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  26. Reading these posts brings back so many bad memories. Sometimes, I feel so stupid for waiting so long to leave.

    Years ago, there was much turmoil in the church. The pastor called a members-only meeting one Sunday evening to discuss the issues. Great, I thought. Until I found out that only the male members were invited. Red flags galore! I never did get a good explanation for why only men were allowed to attend. (Probably because there is no good explanation.)

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  27. I attended a church for 20-something
    years after being born-again.
    I could name dozens of
    times my pastor singled me
    out to verbally (and often publicly) try to
    shame me.He even did so in the
    midst of a church sponsored banquet,
    which was not even held in the church but in a
    community building in town. I
    started feeling like I wasn’t safe anywhere as
    long as he was there.
    I had a couple of God-given dreams
    showing me the pastors
    intentions towards me, which were based
    on jealousy and feeling
    threatened by me. The pastor was and is
    insecure. His wife is
    friendly only to a handful of women. Being
    around them felt like
    high school, where the popular students
    all sat at the same table and discouraged
    anyone else from joining them.
    I have forgiven them but
    I feel we must keep the talk concerning spiritual
    abuse going. Just because we may be at
    the point that we can go forward and treat
    the abuse we endured as “something in the past”,
    We must speak out in defense of those that
    are going through it now and will in the future.
    Spiritual abuse did not end just because
    we left a church. If we don’t speak out others will
    continue to endure this senseless abuse.
    I should have left sooner than I did.
    I realize now that God
    spoke to me to leave but I always thought
    if I just stayed a little longer
    things would change. They did change…they got
    worse! Many pretended to not notice the red flags.
    Things are constantly swept under the rug. As long
    as it’s not happening directly to them, they can close
    their eyes to the abuse. When you leave they’ll talk
    about you and make often make you the villian.
    They don’t know the full story. Many of those
    that stayed are in the “inner circle” of either the
    pastor or his wife. When I finally left, I tried
    attending another area church.
    That pastor also verbally abused me right from the
    start. And he did it publicly, to add insult to injury.
    When I prayed about it the Lord
    showed me the first pastor spoke to the second
    and lied about me to him.
    It’s kind of like the man that abuses his wife…he
    doesn’t want her but he doesn’t want anyone else
    to have her either.Instead of him privately confronting me
    to see if the allegations were true,
    He chose to believe the first pastor and publicly
    berate me. I’ve left there,
    and haven’t found a church home yet. I still love
    God with all my heart. I love His people too. But
    I will speak out against
    spiritual abuse when I get the chance to help those
    that are experiencing this and are
    not sure what to do about it. If GOD says leave, then
    leave and trust Him to lead the way for you. Don’t stay
    longer than God says to stay. Allow
    your spouse/adult children/friend that always
    accompanies you, to stay until God makes it clear to them.
    But don’t stay for any other person.
    Get out and pray for them to have their eyes open.
    Forcing them to leave or staying for them is not right
    if God tells you to leave…listen!!! Continue
    to teach your young children the bible and how to pray
    and how to love God in your home or with a group of
    Christian peers. God might even lead you and your
    family to a healthy church where the pastor has a
    servants heart. But don’t stay longer than you should
    as long as you are certain God is telling you to leave. And above
    all, speak out but forgive the offender. You forgive for your
    own sake, not for theirs.

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  28. What you wrote is so true. We must speak out against abusive pastors and churches. I stayed far too long in that sick house church but at least I now know the value of sound doctrine.

    I also know that any discipline must first start between the two parties who have an issue. Jesus said in Matthew chapter eighteen that if the person in the wrong doesn’t listen, take a few friends to reason with that person. Only when all else fails should the church be informed.

    The two pastors you mentioned were way out of line. You did right by leaving those churches. I hope and pray you find a good church with a loving pastor and gentle congregants who will support you when you have problems.

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  29. How sad to read these stories. In my life the pastors I have known are loving people who do their best to help you grow in your walk with God. Remember, not every pastor is like these. For those who have quit trying to find a good church, please try again, We need each other!

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  30. How true that we need to try again to trust pastors. But first we need to heal from the damage done. Trust must be earned and for many, it’s hard to trust again. This is why most church leavers never come back. People must learn to hand the bad experiences over to Jesus each time bad feelings are triggered. It’s helped me ditch most of my emotional baggage.

    For some strange reason, emotional baggage never gets lost at airports. Perhaps it’s because it’s carried onto the plain by its owner.

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  31. I am currently trying to leave my high-demand and controlling church, but my husband doesn’t see what I see and does not intend to leave. I fear that if I leave without him they will brainwash him into thinking that I am an agent of Satan and then our marriage will be destroyed.

    What opened my eyes: three weeks ago, one of the 2 pastors who is also a prophet, called me up on a Sunday ( along with other people) to prophesy over me. And he revealed stuff my husband and I told him during a meeting with him this past summer, except he said it out loud on the microphone in front of the whole church, sharing details of our private life and pretending it was a direct revelation from God.

    My husband and I were hurt. We asked for a meeting and he avoided us for a week, then we were lectured about how Christians need to die to themselves, die to pride, and crucify the flesh, and also that we got upset because we do not have enough knowledge about prophecy and how it works. Then he said that in the last 3 months of every year Satan is trying to attack his ministry and wants to create conflict between him the pastor and us. My husband was OK instantly comforted. For me, I started researching and realized all the false teachings in this church. We currently are at church a minimum of three times a week as “worker” (volunteers) for about 4 hours each time, the amount of money that is required of us is unbelievable, and we have had no social life, no family life, no vacation since we joined 2 years ago. I am stuck though, we have three kids and with my husband not ready to leave, I feel like I am in jail.

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