Clergy Misconduct, Spiritual Abuse

Opportunity to Participate in Research Study on Clergy Misconduct


I was just in contact with Julie Anne, and she asked me to post this notice on Spiritual Sounding Board. ~ Brad

I occasionally hear through the survivor community grapevine about academic-level research being done on issues related to survivors of spiritual abuse. When I do, I encourage people to participate. The resulting research data and descriptions have proven valuable to our communities. Here is an opportunity to respond to a doctoral research project on clergy misconduct.

This research focuses on clergy misconduct of a nonsexual nature. Case study participants are needed for a detailed online survey about what they experienced. It’s an anonymous survey using SurveyMonkey, and participants from any country worldwide are welcomed!

The requirements for participants:

  1. At least 20 years old.
  2. The person had something happen that reflects wrongdoing by a specific pastor (misuse of authority, breaking confidentiality, crossing boundaries, something financial, etc.).
  3. The wrongdoing was not sexual.
  4. It happened more than one year ago.
  5. The church where this happened was Protestant (Lutheran, Baptist, Alliance, United, Pentecostal, etc.).
  6. The person was a member of the church or a regular attender.
  7. The person was an adult when this happened.

The SurveyMonkey link for the study is:

The opening pages explain more about the survey, its purposes, and its length.

The study is being done by Marlis Krueger through California Southern University. Results will be accessible on the university website in approximately six months.

Thanks for considering participation in this important study!

~ brad/futuristguy

[UPDATE August 2, 2017: We’ve been in touch with Marlis and will be notified when the results are available, so we can link to them then. Thanks again for considering participating in the survey!]

27 thoughts on “Opportunity to Participate in Research Study on Clergy Misconduct”

  1. Thanks, Brad, for posting this. I think it is very important. There is not enough academic research done on clergy abuse. And there are very few therapists who understand and know how to help counsel those who have been spiritually abused. I know this because when I talk to therapists in both personal and in my capacity of spiritual abuse blogger, I find that many times I am teaching them!! I am definitely going to do the survey and hope those who have been harmed will do so, too!


  2. What is meant by ‘Protestant’? I’ve heard, in Germany it means mostly the Lutherans, but in other countries includes many other non-Catholics and non-Orthodox, like Baptists, Reformed, Presbyterian.. What about Methodists and Anglican?


  3. I think in the US everything that isn’t catholic (or maybe orthodox) is generally considered Protestant. Reforms or not.

    something financial

    I’m curious how much research has been done on the concept of Nepotism in church. It seems to run rampant. As a kid, our formerly unpaid music director was dumped for somebody’s son in law, and now it was suddenly a paid position. I don’t know if that’s quite to the level of spiritual abuse but it seems really off regardless.


  4. I checked the information pages on the SurveyMonkey site for this study, and there were a few additional details there about “Protestant” and the age requirement, so I’ve updated the main post to reflect that information. “Protestant” was expanded there to: Lutheran, Baptist, Alliance, United, Pentecostal, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, I tried to complete this survey, hit next on one page and it went back to the beginning thus losing some of my answers. Any other complaints about this? I will try it one more time, but if it does it again, I probably won’t try again for time’s sake. Hope it was just a one time oops.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m really excited to see the results of this. I experienced spiritual abuse at the hands of church leadership and am now a therapist working with victims of abuse in a very conservative, religious area. Is there a way we can see updates or read a final paper?


  7. I just finished the survey and found it very liberating. It was the first time I openly shared about the experience that almost destroyed my faith. Thank you for sharing the link.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so glad to hear that, dpersson7. I think telling your story is so helpful in the recovery process because you are hearing yourself validate your own story. Our voices were squelched in the spiritually abusive environment. I know that telling my story was empowering for me. If you’d ever like to share it here sometime, please let me know.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you Julie Anne I appreciate that. At some point I think that would be helpful. I’m currently trying to figure out how to approach it and still protect my family members.


  10. @Lea, I have story after story of nepotism and favoritism in my former Fundy church. I recently had an encounter that reminded me of how angry that made me.


  11. I spent my teen years in a very spiritual abusive southern baptist church. I’m currently attending a non denominational church in my college town and have started to see how that church affected my life now and my relationships now. This survey was super helpful to further see this. Thanks so much for sharing! I can’t wait to see results.


  12. I just saw this post today. I think my experience of spiritual abuse might not fit into those strict categories deemed “Protestant.” My former Christian cult (make no mistake about it, it was definitely Christian), did not consider itself to be part of any denomination. However, we read the Bible daily, evangelized on the streets, preached being ‘born again’, believed in living a holy/godly life style – all the marks of what is considered an Evangelical Christian. However, we lived communally and were not at all like your typical church.


  13. @Lea, I have story after story of nepotism and favoritism in my former Fundy church. I recently had an encounter that reminded me of how angry that made me.

    I completely understand that anger! I think this is way too prevalent. This is something we are obviously prone to as people, hence early church warnings about favoritism…


  14. Just wondering how and when we will know something form this. It intrigues me a lot to know what results will come of it. I am to the point now that I give names! Again, thanks for sharing…


  15. Angie, Brad and I will keep our eyes open for the results of the study and one of us will post about it. You can be sure that we are interested as well! I’m too lazy to look, but 6 months seems to be the timeframe that comes to my mind for the results.


  16. Did anyone have this problem after filling out the Survey, the Computer crashed next day, anyone? Personally, don’t think 6 months is long enough; think they’ll keep reading articles expose church abuse it will be like the energizer bunny and overwhelming like opening a whole can of worms didn’t know existed.

    Liked by 1 person

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