About Julie Anne

In February of 2012, I began a blog sharing personal stories of my experience at an abusive church my family had left. I did this after discovering that the negative reviews I had posted about this church on Google Reviews had been removed.

Within weeks after starting the blog, my former pastor and church (Chuck O’Neal and Beaverton Grace Bible Church) sued me and four other former members, including my adult daughter, for defamation. Their lawsuit asked for $500,000 in damages. My story went viral, beginning with this news report.

Since winning the lawsuit in July 26, 2012, I have continued to blog about spiritual abuse, how to recover from it, and note disturbing practices in churches/organizations, some of which can lead people to question their faith or even abandon their faith. Although now closed for commenting, the original blog can still be found here.

Many have asked if my whole story in one place. My story has been written as memories and experiences come to mind, so it is interspersed throughout the blog, but here is a blog post with a compilation of articles where you may find important parts of my story.

If you are interested in reading the details of the lawsuit and commentary, Brad Sargent compiled the whole story, related news articles, interviews, analysis of the case in the BGBC Archive.  It was a very large undertaking (over 300 hours of work) and I’m so appreciative of Brad’s work in this as he and I believe my story is representative of so many others.  We hope others can learn from our experience. Brad, too, is a spiritual abuse survivor and has been studying spiritual abuse systems for a few decades. He has a wealth of knowledge and I owe him the deepest gratitude.

Another part of my story is connected with the Christian Homeschool Movement –  which includes ideologies and practices such as: full-quiver, courtship, Patriarchy, stay-at-home daughters, modesty/purity teachings (the church/pastor who sued me also was connected with the Homeschool Movement). As a long-time homeschooling mother (23+ yrs), I have seen how some of these practices, especially the ones that devalue/depersonalize women and girls, have caused great harm, physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. We have a big problem with abuse in our Christian churches groups, and this needs to change.

Additionally, I have worked as an investigative blogger covering high-profile cases such as breaking the clergy sexual misconduct cases of Ravi Zacharias and Tullian Tchividjian (grandson of Billy Graham). I worked full-time on the blog at least 40-60 hours a week from 2012, even while going back to school to get my Bachelor’s in Cyber Security. Since 2020, I started working full-time in cyber security and have taken a break from blogging, but have continued to be active on Twitter and also do interviews and speak on topics related to abuse in church.

A very sad and difficult part of my story is that the spiritual abuse I incurred was not just at church. It was also in my home under the guise of Patriarchy. I made the very difficult decision to divorce my husband of nearly 35 years last year (2020). Part of my advocacy work is encouraging and providing safe places for women to get the support they need if they are in a destructive marriage.

If you have suffered spiritual abuse, my heart really goes out to you. The recovery process is deeply personal and heart wrenching. After the media got hold of my story, I was inundated with hundreds of e-mails, and it took me several months to respond to all of them. I discovered that many self-proclaimed atheists were also victims of spiritual abuse.  This breaks my heart and shows how damaging spiritual abuse really is.

If you would like help along the way, feel free to hang out on the blog. There are some amazing people (regular readers) and my co-blogger, Kathi, who understand and will encourage you. Feel free to jump in at any time on any blog post, regardless of the topic.

This place is for you!

~Julie Anne  (or JA)

E-mail:  JulieAnne@SpiritualSoundingBoard.com


73 thoughts on “About Julie Anne”

  1. Dear Julie Anne,

    Thank God for your and being a brave Deborah for The Faith, and for your website: https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/about/

    This is one of best articles and exposes on SGM and Devers…most of the comments are incredible too!


    Here is my response:


    The root system of Sovereign Grace Ministries is the shepherding movement. The root of Calvinism is Theocracy. Combine the two, you have a demonic alloy of two metals that are even stronger when these principalities are combined. My term for this spiritual extortion bondage and abuse of spiritual authority vs. liberty in Christ, is “Control Freak Christianity, or “Christian Communist Manifesto”, where just like the original Communist Manifesto, the individual is disposable it is the State that matters. This false balance is an abomination to the Lord and a Pharisee’s Dream that the Apostle Paul rightly eternally damned.

    James Sundquist


  2. In dealing with church abuse for years, you HAVE TO SUE, because that’s the only item they understand is WHEN YOU HIT THEM IN THE POCKET BOOK.

    Example: Group of boys were molested by pastor, instead of paying for counseling for the boys and helping the parents the foursquare movement ran them out (but they took the parents money for years). Worse, they sent the perpetrator to a foreign country to do the same (David). MANY FALSE CHURCHES ARE LIKE THIS. Know many a stupid christian parent, I can’t sue the church? Why not? It’s because they have you brainwashed and controlled and been laying nothing but guilt, condemnation, criticism on you for years and keeping you suppressed and in bondage under legalism and false doctrine. Took this public at the time (2000) it was told to me and note Hayford still in position and home office tells the pastor that confronted, “it was none of his business” (he wants NOTHING to do with the foursquare movement). So, is your tithe money, gifts, alms and offerings going to molest, rape, sodomize and murder children?…I can answer that.

    NAME NAMES. Have your facts right, not emotionalism. There has to be accountability and correction, judging righteous judgment, rebuke, reproof.

    One christian counselor asked me why the families didn’t sue the church=guilt, intimidation, false thinking and why they didn’t turn it in to the police department and file report? Also call major newspapers like Los Angeles Times, NY Times (go to reference department of your library and get all their emails and addresses of ALL media=I did). Told church leadership in 2004 if I heard anything and followed up regarding abuse and it was true it was going public because for years people have corrected the church and NOTHING DONE, SWEPT UNDER CARPET. Look at the book: “10 Lies The Church Tells Women” by J. Lee Grady and that evil movement is still in existance (christians chose to be brainwashed idiots that cannot, will not and chose NOT to think for themselves, been there, done that and NO MORE)!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am sorry you went through what you did but glad it did not destroy your faith. We have our own story, of course, not so grim as yours, but it certainly did a lot of damage to several of our children. And I was an elder in the church at the time. It is necessary to remember that we are called to forgive, and remembering the past just stirs up bitterness or anger for me, so I try not to let myself dwell on anything but look to the future. May you be a comfort to others and may God’s peace be with you.


  4. Dear Julie Ann,
    I am grateful to have found your sounding board, as I have been imprisoned by secrecy, and am finally finding my voice. I am divorcing a pedophile, after having been married 27 years. My husband, an actor, a celebrity, who used playing The Reverend Eric Camden on 7th Heaven for 11 years to engender trust in the parents of the children he used for his sexual gratification. 20 months ago, my husband confessed, ran away from our home, abandoned our daughter, and has not, to my knowledge, been treated for his sexual orientation to children. There have been complaints filed against him with both the NYPD, and LAPD, but none are under the age of 26. my husband is very clever, and has managed his victims (and their families) by using legal threats. He created a persona as a man of God to gain access to children.
    Our daughter has been moved to an undisclosed location. I am trying to get divorced as quickly as possible, and extricate myself from him. He has hired very expensive attorneys who are making my life hell. Thanks for letting me share.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Faye – Your story is so painful to read. I can’t imagine living it. If you haven’t already, please read this article here: https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/05/15/being-married-to-a-pedophile-a-wife-speaks-out-and-offers-hope-to-other-wives-of-pedophiles/

    There are ladies who have walked in your shoes and will likely respond to any comments you leave there. You don’t need to go through this alone. My heart goes out to you. Thanks so much for leaving a comment and sharing your story. ~Julie Anne

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Faye,
    You have found a safe place to land and I strongly encourage you to ask Julie Anne to send you information about the private forum that SSB has created. It is a more secure area in which to share the similarities of our journeys.

    I am so sorry for the nightmare you are currently living in. I too was imprisoned by secrecy and the trauma of living with a pedophile. And it is a trauma and a betrayal of the deepest sort. I am glad that you are extricating yourself and understand the lengths to which some of these men go when divorcing. My divorce was a nightmare as well.

    I am also very glad that you relocated your daughter. You are so much stronger than you think you are and you are not alone. You can read more of my story on my blog: http://brendafindingelysium.blogspot.com/

    And you can email me directly if you want; my email address is on my blog.

    Keep coming back–you are so worth it.


  7. Dear Faye,
    I too was faced with a wealthy pedophile-ex-husband with millions of dollars of family money. I want to assure you that even though you are frightened, if you keep fighting, eventually things will go your way.

    Keep telling your story to the judge, the attorneys, to the press, to anyone who will listen. This is the fight of your life, but I promise if you keep telling the truth, you will win. He can try to intimidate people and accuse you all of libel and slander, but truth is the best defense.

    I was terrified every time I went to court. I was shaking all the way into the parking lot and up the elevator. I was sure that my ex- would be able to fool the judge. But judges aren’t stupid, and they see sociopaths every day.

    You need to take the lead in confidence and courage. The Judge will not rule against your ex if you roll over and give up. Even if you are frightened, put on a confident face (it’s called acting!!) and show up in court looking professional and non-emotional.

    ==> No judge wants to be the judge who let a pedophile back into society. <==

    See more of my story here: https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/05/15/being-married-to-a-pedophile-a-wife-speaks-out-and-offers-hope-to-other-wives-of-pedophiles/

    –Anon 3


  8. Julie Anne,
    Found your blog today and love it. The post on whether or not Joni preached was exceptional! I actually watched the video of her last weekend and never thought about her being a woman and preaching. I know one thing: of all the videos I’ve watched of the conference hers is the best! It didn’t even dawn on me that I was watching a conference led by men who oppose women preaching. I guess I’ve become immune to blatant inconsistency (hypocristy?). Your blog is needed today more than ever. The church is fast becoming a meeting of the non-thinking, blind followers. Years ago I sold my dental practice and went to seminary. I lasted 2 years on the staff of a large church. I left so that I wouldn’t lose my faith nor my mind. Make no mistake about it: big church is about big money. It really is that simple. I’ve seen up close how the system works; even how the system handles sexual abuse in order to prevent damaging the brand and losing profits. People like you who think for themselves, ask sensible questions, and simply desire truth are finding no place in today’s church. Your blog will help those people know they aren’t losing their minds but are in fact using their minds. Keep up the good work. Steve


  9. Steve, thanks much for stopping by and for your kind words. I, too, appreciated Joni’s talk. The hypocrisy of some of these guys is very troubling.

    If you’d like to send me the story of your personal journey, I’d love to post it. I think you are right, many churches really are run like businesses. It’s very sad.


  10. Julie Anne, I was raised in a FGBC church that was into some culty, legalistic, and abusive practices. The pastor of my church is now in FGBC leadership (but it’s not a denomination ;). He taught Bible at the affiliated Christian school and generally just told us urban legends as if they were his own experiences. All children of elders were required to attend the school, so I was there 6 or 7 days a week. The abusive youth pastor does missions trips to Haiti now and generally does whatever will win him accolades from men. He spanked my little brother at church every week without my parents’ knowledge or permission. He demeaned us and insulted us students at every turn. I’m quite certain that he is a closet case. He took us to a sex paraphernalia shop in Philly on a missions trip. He enjoyed exposing us to all kinds of “worldly” material so that we would be prepared for life outside the bubble, but we were discouraged from having friends outside the church unless we were bringing them to Jesus. He also taught at the Christian school, and he forced us to do evangelism on a major Catholic campus for a grade. He accused me of sexual sin when I was 17, even though I’d never dated or kissed anyone.

    I went on to Grace College in Winona Lake, IN, where the FGBC is based. I met a man with a similar background and married him before graduation. He went to seminary, which was the final straw for us with fundamentalist evangelical culture. Then he went on to get a PhD and now teaches religion at a small college. I’m a happy momma of four and a Roman Catholic. The damage done to us emotionally and spiritually is still with us, especially after a visit with my in-laws who insult anyone who does not think and live in the same narrow belief system that they do. However, we are raising a joyful crew of children who are being brought up to love God and live joyfully.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am attending bbc&s and students have been posting some abusive things. one of them is a pastor if now two of them. The comments range from there is no such thing as a victim, PTSD isnt real and mental health problems are a sign of weakness and character flaws. one of the students has followed and harased every post in class i have made. the teacher has seemingly done nothing. I named them both and now I am being faced with expulsion. i know its not much but i never knew doing this could be so.. dangerous to say. none of them have apologized to me and i have been forced to issue one to them.. i find out the decision tomorrow and the posts have been deleted and mine remain as to I look like the bad person.


  12. Baggend

    Sorry to hear about what you’re going thru…
    Emphasis on – going thru…

    “I named them both and now I am being faced with expulsion. i know its not much but i never knew doing this could be so.. dangerous to say.”

    Yes – I had to learn this the hard way also…

    I’ve had many posts deleted from those who dis-agree…
    and sometimes they just delet some to look, as you say – the bad person.

    “posts have been deleted and mine remain as to I look like the bad person.”

    Praying for you and praying with you – that your faith fail NOT.

    Christian-dumb is often a bloody sport…

    It might LQQK bad now – BUT…

    WE, His Ekklesia, His Sheep, His Disciples…

    Walk by FAITH NOT by sight…

    F. A. I. T. H.



    P.S. You write… “I am attending bbc&s…”

    Can you tell me – What is – bbc&s

    And where are these “posts” that you talk about?


  13. everything was on the classroom discussion board. all of them have been deleted about the altercation both this one and the last. i have them copied just in case, and baptist bible college and seminary is bbc&s.. its evidently a mini bob jones


  14. Baggend

    Praise God, you’re now seeing what is going on there…
    “bbc&s.. its evidently a mini bob jones”

    Yes, the trials, the harassment, having to listen to – “there is no such thing as a victim, PTSD isnt real and mental health problems are a sign of weakness..”

    Is certainly uncomfortable for anyone to endure…

    BUT – Those statements are lies…

    Was wondering – Why have you commented here at SSB?


  15. Jamie O., If you are still on this blog, could you tell me more of your experience with Grace College? My step-daughter is considering going there, and I have very serious reservations.


  16. Dear Julie,

    I admire your kind hearted honestly and bravery. Since the story broke on Bill Gothard, I have been grieved for him and especially for all those effected by his deprived mind brought on by pride. His remaining life focus should be on repentance and restitution to those who he has harmed so deeply. He should devote all his time and funds to those he has hurt by praying and asking God how he can do that. Perhaps providing the families funding for counseling, free home school material of their choice, scholarships to college, and publicly confessing his sin and pride like a poor beggar seeking forgiveness and not like a spiritual giant in his own mind.. If he choses not to do this, sadly, his legacy will not be as a man of God but as a religious pedophile. I beleive in God’s grace and know that God can use him to heal the many he has hurt. His current endeavors are blatant indicators that he heart is stone as well as those that allowed him to get to this point. I am grieved and truly hope and pray that he will truly humble himeslf before the Lord so we can see the power of God is making beauty out of these ashes. Thanks again Julie. – Pastor Joe


  17. You seem to have missed something, J Barthness. The issue isn’t about being at war with God, but about frauds who mis-characterize God and abuse innocent sheep.


  18. Julie Anne

    When J Barthness says…

    This is “written by someone at war with God.”

    I’m-A-thinkin that is quite a compliment… 🙂

    You have gone to war with God at your side and in you… 😉
    Giving you the wisdom and courage to continue.

    God is with you in this war.

    You are certainly “at War” with Bullies…
    “frauds who mis-characterize God and abuse innocent sheep.”

    And God is certainly “with You” in this War against Bullies…

    Yes – This is quite a compliment and revelation…


  19. Hi, Julie Anne. I was trying to find a way to send you email, but couldn’t, so I’m leaving a message here. Did you know that an old molesting case against Josh Duggar has broken? In Touch Weekly has published the story and the police documents which they acquired through the Freedom of Info. Act, from what I can understand. I haven’t poked around your site for awhile, so I don’t know yet if you have dared to speak out against the Duggar sacred cow or not, but I thought I’d give you a head’s up. I came over here to see if you had anything on it, and you didn’t. (I was here in the past in relation to the Doug Phillips scandal.)

    Of course, a whole lot of people will be defending the Duggars and even claiming that it’s all a fabrication. If so, In Touch will be in pretty hot water because —
    You can find the police reports here:

    If that’s made up, it’s a pretty big conspiracy. If it isn’t, then the dear, darling (Patriarchal) T.V. stars are not as holy and undefiled as they are presented to the world. 😦 I’ve been disturbed for some time about their overly sanitized image.


  20. I agree. I was just talking with a friend and we agreed that there is going to be a big mess because of this and it will get a lot worse before it gets better. If the Duggars hadn’t made their family public figures it is doubtful that it would have been publicly known. Then these people could have sorted through their respective issues without all the drama of a public spectacle. So much potential now for hurt and misery. It makes me sick – and sad.

    I was also glad to read that Jim Bob had reported it to the authorities and Michelle was willing to talk to the police about it.


  21. I’m more and more happy to be free of religion completely. It really is my Father and me now. Last year I let go of Catholicism forever. There are many, many wonderful people that are trying to clean the mess from within, but for me I needed out. At 17 I was a victim of the “baby scooping” here. You can read about what this is here: http://babyscoopera.com/

    I was in a “kindler, gentler” situation — and i do thank God for this everyday — than those in Ireland other places in what is known as the “Magdalene Laundries.” I still find it amazing that this nightmare only concluded in 1996. No apologies from the Roman Catholic Church, nothing from the nuns, either, who have reportedly made millions by selling their properties, along with all the horrendous discoveries on those properties, which helped propel this into the spotlight.

    On a side note: Remember what God’s Word says about nothing can stay hidden, the truth will always come out?

    On the other hand, the RCC, in the personage of Bill Donahue, is busy writing denial pieces on the Magdalene Laundries and, of course minimization pieces for the ongoing clergy-abuse cases.

    For the first time in my life I finally viewed some documentaries on these abuses, and many more. What is a consistent them throughout is that NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE BY THE RCC WITHOUT BEING FORCED INTO IT BY LAWSUITS.

    I cannot speak for other religions other than the one I was cradle-raised in, although I am obviously now well-read in this area.

    I tend to read books by people whose sole focus is God, regardless of denomination — true faith and trust in God and God along — as Jesus said “Trust in God and believe also in me.” It really is that simple. No need for priests, pastors, and certainly not a pope, rituals, dogmas, or beat-the-sheep-for-money tithing monster.

    The most tragic part of the whole mess with religion is those who have left God altogether because of what they experienced in religion. Someday I’ll write about what kept me from leaving God over the years and turning to agnosticism or atheism over the years.

    I am happy to be called out. Yes, the Catholic Church has me on their roll of 1.2 billion “faithful” and I haven’t formally resigned from my parish. Hey, there are a couple of nuns around my parts doing mini-retreats and talking about total faith and trust in God and God’s Word as a treasure, read the Bible and ask for help from the Holy Spirit in doing this. I mean, you really can’t get more un-Catholic than that in the Catholic Church. It’s just amazing how God works through people. Who knows? Maybe I will have to go back to do something like this.

    I really thank you for your blog and your courage. God bless you and keep you safe.


  22. Thank you for your comments, samalabear. I’m saddened by the abuses that have remained hidden in the RCC. Stick close to God and His Word. bless you!


  23. Over 30 years ago God showed me my church was totally demon possessed. I saw it very plainly. I go around the Internet telling people that the churches have fallen away. I get sad because most of what I run into on the Internet is people telling each other how bad this church is and how bad that church is and how bad that denomination is. Every church and denomination is going to be bad now because they have fallen away. I wish people would concentrate on trying to get the true church together and looking for the people who have the true Holy Spirit in their hearts. Because there really is a very big difference between a false Christian and a true Christian. A false Christian that goes to a fallen away church will need deliverance. They will need deliverance from demons, everyone one of them. All of us have been raised in false churches and all of us will need deliverance to be part of the true church.

    After God showed me my church was totally filled with demon possessed people I’ve looked for a church with people who had the Holy Spirit. I haven’t been able to find a gathering like that in about 32 years. It is a huge task to get people to see that the church they are attend is fake, it is false, it is not the real church and then to get us all together as the real church. It is near to impossible to accomplish this task now since the falling away is so bad. Most people will be betrayed unto death by their own family before they can find the real church, just like the bible says. Our own family will be our foes. Many will be and have been betrayed unto death already by their own family members now. I was almost. I saw enough to escape and get away from my family.

    I’m just out trying to tell people our situation now.


    Liked by 1 person

  24. Julie Anne, I sent you an email at your above email address, but I realized that it might not have gotten to you. I finally wrote an article on the subject of spiritual BDSM, as I think of it, and I thought you might be interested since we’d discussed the concept somewhere on SSB before. But, your email may have deleted it or put it in your spam box due to the title and subject matter. 🙂


  25. I’m emailing you, please don’t discount because of my fake name. I have horrible anxiety. Been diagnosed with complex-ptsd and ocd. Used to have reoccurring nightmares of being back home and unable to escape. So if I’m cagey, that’s why. Been depressed and crying all week.


  26. Homeschooling mama here too who teaches my girls they can be whatever they want! If they want to be stay at home moms, they can–I don’t push it. I’m a stay at home mom who also works part time. My husband and I do not have a conventional marriage. sometimes I cook, sometimes he does. Sometimes I clean, sometimes he does. Marriage is what you make of it! And I too just left an abusive church. Being sued—wow! Thanks for sharing your story for the rest of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. As a spiritual and physical abuse survivor, growing up in the Jehovah’s Witness organization, I thank you for speaking out. These types of individuals need to be called out and exposed for what they are. Thanks for your story.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Thanks for your work on all this crap !!! You gotta have a strong stomach.
    Sorry, but I am just learning about all this – I did have a little inkling that something was wrong with the “quiver full slogan”, but not all this.
    Hang in there !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. God bless your efforts in this blog! I have recently (4 months ago actually ) left my legalistic patriarchal, spiritual abusive church and my home as a single 25 year woman raised to be a daughter at home. It has been a very difficult 4 months spiritually, and emotionally ,trying to live free in Christ, trying to recover from the abuse I’ve suffered for so long and trying to figure out what is truth or I guess the real question is ” how now shall I live”. The stay at home daughter movement had caused so much damage and heart aChe among so many girls, I am one of them. This patriarchal movement has caused such an unhealthy system of control and fear on women. The reconstruction movement breeds oppression for women of all ages not the so called blessed freedom and protection it promises, but fear, ignorance and bondage. I got out of it and it had caused such a rift with my family who is still in it and it has caused the church Pastor and his wife to lash out at me due to “slandering the church” (which I have not) . In short I am starting a new life and it’s hard. I’m trying to heal from the abuse I’ve suffered, and one day I’m going to write about it so that other girls can be helped and receive healing through my journey and through the hope we have in Jesus who gives us true freedom in Him. Again thank you for your website, it’s been helpful to see I’m not alone in the journey!


  30. Ashley, I left that “movement,” too, but as a mother who harmed my adult daughter for a time when I was still in that mindset. Thankfully, first she got out, and then I got out, and our relationship is restored. Some are not so fortunate, sadly.

    I would love to share your story if you are willing. I’m sure many would benefit from reading it. Thanks again, Ashley!


  31. GREAT work, Julie Anne. I commend for your courage. As an atheist I wish more of my folks had such courage. I had two atheist magazines promise to publish my article on Ravi Zacharias (which you know about.) They both caved after fearing legal action. Cowards! And you went up against the bad guys toe-to-toe! Good job.


  32. Thank you, Steve. I’m grateful for the work you did in exposing Ravi Zacharias. People in the Christian camp should have done it long ago. You and I both understand the importance of integrity. Without truth, there cannot be trust.


  33. I admire your courage to step out of line and suffer what may to get the word out that the abuse of some wives in many of the larger Christian Churches was deemed as a mans right over his wife.

    I got married when I was twenty years old to a Christian man and we moved to Mammoth Lakes. Our church was a bit south from us, down highway 395. It was a small church and people were very nice there. I liked it a lot…… at first.
    They had a program there in place. A sheparding program. Aimed at new Christians and newly married couples. The concept was couple had to bring everything they thinking of doing, buying a house, having a child, a new job, a problem they having to their assigned shepard for guidance. Okay . Some advice is always helpful I felt at first. But in reality the man brought forth the issues and I felt a feeling of being the unworthy one. We were to abandon our direct line to God. We were expected to get the okay on everything that I felt we as a married couple should together as husband and wife pray about. This person we assigned to didn’t know us. Nor we him. We told this person deemed a solid member of that church and that his advice was solid and after praying with this person about the issue what ever this person said was like hearing Gods words. That’s how my husband handled it. Many times I didn’t agree. I knew us and knew the advice was short sighted. I became very frustrated because everything needed approval. My husband took it literally to mean stop praying on his own. We stopped praying together. That to me was the beginning to our end. Not that I was right and he wrong but I felt he slipped away from God. It seemed his existence was to live up to his sheparding advisor. Even in issues I thought were handled way wrong. I felt this was really a way to stop our own communications we shared together with God. And it did. We lost that intimate part of our relationship. To me it was obvious where our problems now were stemming from. Lack of God coming to our needs and him hearing our praise and thankfulness as a married couple and to have man interpret our needs. I felt like it was the same as with the Catholic Church. Having a priest to confess to instead of a personal relationship with our creator. I felt that Satan had introduced these ideas into men so cleverly disguised as Gods word. These men didn’t then pray about these things with their wives. Surely it would have gotten a loud and clear vote of NO from God. He doesn’t want people abusing us or taking us from our personal communications with him. It’s bad in a lot of ways. This subject never came up in our premarriage counseling. I think good churches need the premarrige counseling but need to have every three months follow up. I tried to express my concerns but was not heard. Suddenly my Christian faith was piggy backing on my husbands devotion and who was I felt not going by scripture. Sure there’s so much need of our church elders. They are wise and usually pretty valuable to the church. I’m not at all making claims of abuse by these people or the church I once attended near Mammoth Lakes. I’m saying for me this created an issue between me & my husband. He just couldn’t grasp what it was I was so concerned about and that was that. When I tried to explain my feelings he didn’t even hear what I was saying. Later when he asked what my problem was his answer told me that he hadn’t heard anything I had said about anything in such a long time. Some how after getting married he figured the hunt was over. He had his wife and she would give him children,and cook and clean, all the usual stuff. He didn’t have to listen to me. He certainly didn’t need to hear my views on his in with the church. He got very buddy buddy with men at church. My husband was trying in our marriage. He got together with people in a band. Funny it wasn’t a Christian band. I tried to ask him had he gotten the okay to join this band that put him on weekends in bars til closing? I doubt that. I needed to work. My husband was very controlling with money and I couldn’t successfully run a home the way it should be run with him handing me 20 bucks every two weeks. I mean really. He hated paying bills and I was raised to get a bill in mail look it over and pay same day even if there was an issue. Just pay your bills on time, right that same day you get the bill, making certain you are never late and resolve bill issues easier when you’re a good customer not looking for money off services. My mom did things like this and she and my dad never had issues with money ever. In my parents 48 year marriage they never paid a late fee. Never.
    My father in Navy 25 yrs. so I was raised to be on time, actually to be early for work. And to do my best always. No matter what you do to strive to be the best at it. I saw this worked for everyone. So that was my way of living too.

    While married I found work in an office with a appliances repair guy. I don’t like office work. But I did it. Soon I could see this guy was doctoring his books. At first I didn’t catch on. But repeated balances weren’t coming out right and always short. I mention it to owner. He blew me off. I’m not comfortable not having things be on the up and up. I actually prayed about it and quit the next day when the owner gave me a 250.00 hush bonus. I didn’t take the extra cash. I heard later that the person replacing me worked there a year and was arrested for theft of business bank account. I was relieved I’d quit. I know I should have reported what he was doing but it’s his business so he can do what he wants. I kinda caught wind he planning to leave his wife. So he was just getting some padding for himself I chalked it up to. That was my thoughts at the time. Now probably his ex wife demanding to know where the money went and owner blamed his office gal. Not kewl. So I sent a detailed letter to the district attorney. I called my mom for help with that. Some woman sitting in jail probably innocent while the owner counting out how much he slid under the carpet. Anyway that’s what happened when I worked my first job up there.
    Well, We had a baby. I needed money though because my husband didn’t

    and instead of you confessing and talking to God. I was not in favor of this. I didn’t see any other church wine

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Hi…. ok I was trying to tell a story and for some reason things got crazy mixed up at the end and it was posted. I honestly had not even proof read it yet. So for my other post before this one…YIKES……. please excuse me. The last part of it is I don’t know what to say but…. it’s missing the entire point. That’s not really what I had hoped to relay in my message.

    How many here feel that each of us in the mist of a huge spiritual warfare and each of us is in it like GOD ON THE RIGHT SIDE…. the devil seriously yanking hard and his minion Demond’s tripping us up every chance they can get. It’s us now. No church to hide behind. Out there in the open our faith is tested now regularly and many of us are failing. From what I’ve witnessed the devil is pretty clever. It’s exhausting but that’s the hope. Tired people do dumb things.

    Anyone here heard of RUSS DIZDAR?

    Also Dr. John Hall of Texas is a great source of reality. Open your mind though. We are so condition to believe everything our government tells us. You can’t listen to humans tell you what’s going on. You must risk ridicule for thinking for yourself bottom line. Keep your relationship with God your own private relationship so there’s no one swaying your thinking. I’m not saying deny your love for God and achknowlege j sue Christ died for our sins. But read Revelations. These are the end times. Technology is the devils tool to wreck marriages and take our children’s innocence from them. This guy s just my opinion but KIDS DONT NEED INTERNET CONNECTED DEVICES WITH THEM 24/7. A basic flip phone pay as you go where it’s difficult to trace your kids location( parents can sew in a small device you can put Velcro to help replacement of batteries easier) but you control who monitors your children. Our children are open to a lot of danger otherwise. It’s intereting that the creators of our most popular devices and society al media forbid their children to use the devices and social media. How come? And cover you phones camera. I’m not paranoid at all trust me. But I have had more than one person who is in the know tell me we are watched by perverted twisted people and aren’t even aware of it. Those with more money than God pay for this little feature of prying into our lives. Your children’s phones are top paid hits. What does that tell you about the state of that bye.

    There is someone here who made a comment & he/she tormented and to me they are probably hanky part of our shadow governments secret programs where the goal is to completely ruin a persons life and get them to take their own life. I’m sure you all have noted the right ncreaeevin suicdes lately. It is only going by to get worse.
    A good website to look at is. Fightgangstalking.com and they have another that gives more detail at fightgabgstalkingtaftics. Something like that. Ted Gunderson ex FBI ON YOUTUBE SPILLS THE BEANS.

    And for you women divorcing abusive husbands please watch RICHARD FINE attorney on YouTube on how to disqualify a corrupt judge . If you are in calif you won’t get a fair settlement trust me. Thank you


  35. Heart goes out to all who have genuinely been abused. I do think it’s important to remember that the complementarianism of Scripture would condemn both the heavy-handed brutality that tolerates no question (1 Peter chapter 5) or the squishy secular approach that buckles to full female Church leadership, which is strongly correlated with shrinking, dying churches. Ephesians 5 tells men and women to submit to each other but to do so in different ways. Women are to submit their urge toward primacy, men are to submit their urge toward independence. in love is the key phrase. Women are to submit to their husbands as the one who will give account to God for the spiritual state of affairs of the house. Men are to submit to their wives by sticking around, pursuing Christ as his first joy, and serving as a pointer to Christ. When a man truly steps up to lead in a God-honoring way, it is a wonderful thing with huge ripple impacts that do not get blogs written about it. But, it also happens in churches all over the place.

    My caution may be blasted by many here on all sides, but please, be cautious of embracing a victim identity and eventually embracing a sort of hypervigilance as a self-appointed sort of Church traffic cop that trumpets the downfalls of various leaders more than celebrating in redemption. It’s good to remember that each and every one of us is that one whose debt, that we could not pay to God Almighty, was forgiven us. Our sin against God is worse and more scandalous and more filthy than any sin committed against us. Let that sink in. In light of that, let us be terribly careful not to rush out and pillory those we do not know personally and become like the forgiven debtor, who would not forgive and restore his peer debtor in turn. Even if we are factually correct, there is an unhealthiness to it and it will lead to the same Pharisaism noted in the first place. Our sin is very deceptive in that way.

    Blessings on you.


  36. Auslander


    Was wondering…
    What is your point?

    You write…
    “I do think it’s important to remember
    that the complementarianism of Scripture…”

    Well, “complementarianism” is NOT in Scripture.

    So WE, His Sheep, His Disciples, can NOT be like those in Berea…
    Who searched the Scriptures daily whether these things be so. Ac 17:10-11.
    If this thing, “complementarianism”
    Is NOT mentioned in Scripture.

    And, NOW, because it is NOT in the Bible…
    “Corrupt leaders,” can just… errr… make stuff up…
    And now there are different types of “complementarianism.”

    And, if you do NOT know there are different types…
    Of “complementarianism” of Scripture…

    How do you know your type?
    Is the most correct type?
    The Biblical Type?

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Hi Amos,

    Of course the literal word “complementarianism” is not in the Bible, just as the word “trinity” is not in the Bible – but no orthodox Christian would question the trinity. It’s just a shorthand way of referring to the fact that God gives different roles in both Church and family to men and women. It is not a commentary on value. The value of a man and woman is absolutely equal. The roles God establishes in His word are different. That’s all.

    Blessings on you.


  38. Auslander

    You write… and prove the previous point…
    …just as the word “trinity” is not in the Bible –
    but no orthodox Christian would question the trinity.”

    Well, you are correct “trinity” is NOT in Scripture.

    But, today there is a robust debate how to understand this “trinity.”
    Because different so-called leaders promote different types of “trinity.”

    And, after 30 years, The the leaders who made-up “complementarianism”
    Are still trying to explain what it really means… “Biblically.”

    And WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Called Out Ones, His Body…
    Are now left with trying to figure out which type of “trinity?”
    Is the most correct type?
    The Biblical Type?

    But WE, His Sheep, His Disciples, can NOT be like those in Berea…
    Who searched the Scriptures daily whether these things be so. Ac 17:10-11.
    If this thing, “trinity.”
    Is NOT mentioned in Scripture.

    And WE, His Sheep, are asked to “Just Believe” what we are told.

    But, NOW, because “trinity,” is NOT in the Bible…
    “Corrupt leaders,” can just… errr… make stuff up…

    And they have. Oy Vey!!! 😦

    Especially thse who promote “complementarianism.”

    And today there are different ways to explain “trinity.”
    Today there are different ways to explain “complementarianism.”

    And, if you do NOT know there are different types?
    Of “trinity?” Of complementarianism? promoted by “Corrupt leaders?”

    How do you know your type of “trinity?”
    Is the most correct type?
    The Biblical Type?

    And ya better get it right. Your salvation, orthodoxy, depends on it.

    How do you know your type of “complementarianism?”
    Is the most correct type?
    The Biblical Type?

    And ya better get it right. Your salvation, orthodoxy, depends on it.

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    THEIR shepherds
    have caused them to go astray,

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as sheep going astray;
    BUT are now returned to
    the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}


  39. Hi Julie Anne,

    Been following you on Twitter for the past few months. Thank you so much for the stories you post. I can not believe that in 2019 these practices are still going on in churches throughout America. I’m in Australia, and while our history of abuse, particularly in the Catholic Church, has been recently well recorded, I think our institutions have become better at ensuring that that we have systems in place to protect the vulnerable. As a Christian I am I am starting to think that the very teachings that Christianity spouses is at the heart of the problem. I belong to a fairly conservative denomination and my role is to ensure that systems are in place to protect women and children. My challenge is to continue educating men in this space and never letting my guard down. I love your tweets and blog and paradoxically, while some it is quite disturbing I find it inspirational in knowing that my work at the local church level is important on on so many levels.

    Well done for your courage and commitment to this very important issue.


  40. Hi Leo, thanks for the kind words. What a great job you have – and much needed. I think Aussies are ahead of us in the US – especially on domestic violence and protecting women.

    I know my tweets are disturbing. Hopefully they are a wake-up call and a kick in the rear end to make sure our own church communities are following the example of Christ and looking after the oppressed.


  41. Two years and five months and the jury just ruled today the guilty verdict. My ex left his punishment up to the judge and she gave him 50 years. He was given so many plea deals and he turned down every one of them. I keep asking myself why he just didn’t take a plea deal? We have a three year old son who will suffer in the end. I don’t understand why I feel so guilty about his punishment? I plead for them not to give him life and instead gave him 50…My son will never get to have a father because of the actions he chose.


  42. Hi Ciera,
    Thank you for updating your situation. It makes sense that you would have mixed feelings. He does deserve to be in prison, but there is of course a cost to your children for not having a father. That is the choice he made, not you. I hope you are able to make the best of your situation and move on as a wonderful mother to your children. It’s important for you to make the most of what you have as you move on. Please keep us posted on how you are doing. Take care!


  43. I am confused as to the purpose of this website. Is it to promote empowerment to families who have been spiritually abused by congregational organizations, or to raise awareness on the subject of legal disputes and church leadership? Just by scanning recent posts, it makes me feel slightly nauseated. Not because of the content, necessarily, but . . . it seems as if the goal of Spiritual Sounding Board is to mudsling ministries and Christian-based organizations in a backdrop of legal conflict.

    Dissing or trivializing the experiences that you, Julie, have written on your blog, is not the point of my post. I’m simply curious. I’m a high school student, you see, with minimal exposure to politics. But the general atmosphere of your articles highlight the evils of structured leadership among our shepherds, our leaders, the men and women meant to guide as and encourage us in Christ, not silence or intimidate us. I have many friends in church leadership. My parents are on a ministry board, which runs a non-profit coffee bar to help our community. My mentors, people I consider to be spiritual brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, are being painted in a shadow of criticism. If you have been spiritually abused, devalued, treated as a lesser member, than I am sorry. I know that you, and many others, have received deep wounds from those in the church.

    But is the church the problem? Or the person who hurt you? Is it leadership as a whole responsible for your scars, or select individuals? I understand your goal–to empower the spiritually abused, to raise awareness of legal matters among religious associations–but I don’t understand your motives. Why list the names of those who wronged you, on a public website, for all to see? Why seek monetary retribution? Why the media coverage? I’m just trying to wrap my head around the issues and articles posted on this website, but I’m still struggling to grasp it all. I don’t feel empowered. I feel sad, and mildly frustrated. I searched–and am still searching–for anything encouraging, positive, or uplifting, anything that helps people on their personal walk with their father, their friend, and Savior, Jesus, anything that tells a victim of spiritual abuse that Jesus LOVES everyone–the man on the street, the pastor in the church, the child in an abusive situation. But I can’t find it. All I am finding are allegations against pastors and lawsuits and people suing other people. Not Jesus. Not my Father. Not my friend. Why do you do what you do, in the way that you do it? I see the darkness, and he evil, and the hate, but where’s Jesus?


  44. Thank you so much for posting. Our “pastor” nearly destroyed our marriage and severely damaged our family identity and faith. My wife who he counseled in my absence still defends him and threatens divorce if I speak out against him. Praise God enough noise was made that he ceased counseling my wife and after a year our marriage has began to recover.


  45. My family was a part of Homestead Heritage in Waco, Texas from 2002-2013. We left after realizing it is a cult, and the spiritual abuse there was and is real. One son is still there, and two sons have rejected God. I want to expose this group, but I do not know how. They cover themselves at every turn. Can you help?


  46. Annemarie, thank you for commenting here. I have heard from others how bad this place is. Would you be willing to share your story? That is the best way to expose the “church,” by sharing your personal story.


  47. As I read this, I have to ask, “Does this woman believe that the Bible is the Word of God?”

    You imply that as you dug out of a male-centric point of view, part of that ended up in you divorcing your husband. According to the Son of God, the very image of the Father, speaking directly from the mouth of the Father: if you divorced your husband for any other reason than adultery on his part, that’s a sin.

    If he was overbearing; or if you decided that you really don’t have to obey him even though the Scripture says women are to obey their husbands–God does not permit divorce for that reason.

    For thought: does any exercise of true authority constitute “abuse” in your eyes? God says children should obey their parents, and that parents should spank their children when they don’t obey. Do children–using the same logic I think I’m seeing here–have the right to view a parent who demands obedience because of following the Scriptures, as being “spiritually abusive”? That is, in fact, a completely un-biblical term. I would challenge you to reframe the whole thing in terms of the Scriptures.

    OK, maybe your church was messed up. But what Scriptures are they disobeying? You say “purity movement” is messed up: according to what Scripture? What Scripture says that purity is wrong?


    Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1 Tim. 4:12 KJV)

    Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
    2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. (1 Tim. 5:1-2 KJV)

    Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Matt. 5:8 KJV)

    Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. (1 Tim. 5:22 ESV)

    All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 Jn. 3:3 NIV)

    What’s wrong with a “movement” to encourage this amidst a society gone mad with debauchery, including among those who claim to be religious?

    You speak disparagingly of “patriarchy”. Well, what Scripture is being disobeyed by whom?

    Ahem: this is what God says:

    For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. (1 Pet. 3:4 ESV)

    Do you have a problem with this? A woman OBEYING her husband, taking orders? Calling him “lord”? If you do–if this is what you consider “partriarchy”–then it is you that have the problem. I’m sorry–even if churches and husbands overdo this–this is still what the Bible says, and this is what we should order our lives by, and this is what we should proclaim wherever we go (along with what the Scriptures says on any given topic).

    So: let’s be done with monumental judgments of churches and people with these un-scriptural terms like “spiritual abuse” and “patriarchy”. Just show exactly how the people you find so objectionable actually disobeyed the Scriptures. You are obviously intelligent, well-read, and hard-working. I’d like to see some effort from those abilities exerted to put some meat on the bones of these broadsides at these movements, churches, and individuals.


  48. Tom, the fact that you quote ESV to me in your rebuke speaks volumes. You believe that husbands have authority over women. I do not find that in the original translations. So you are adding to Scriptures. Good day!


  49. Dear Tom,

    Gee, your comment gave us a whoooooooole lot to work through. But since it’s just about my bedtime in this time zone, I’ll address just this for now:

    “spiritually abusive”? That is, in fact, a completely un-biblical term.

    So what? So are “Trinity” and “original sin”. At least, I’ve never seen them in the text of any Bible I’ve read.

    Or are you saying that, if you can’t find explicit support for a concept in the Bible, you refuse to believe that it exists? Even if it’s something that people have experienced?

    If that’s the case, I leave you with this:

    “The pattern of ‘doctrine over person’ occurs when there is a conflict between what one feels oneself experiencing and what the doctrine or dogma says one should experience. The internalized message in totalistic environments is that one must find the truth of the dogma and subject one’s experiences to that truth.”
    — from Dr. Robert Lifton’s Criteria of Thought Reform (aka “brainwashing”)


    Liked by 1 person

  50. Tom

    You seem to focus on “obligations” for wives…
    “Do you have a problem with this?
    A woman OBEYING her husband,
    taking orders? Calling him “lord”?”

    1 Pet 3:6 KJV
    6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord:
    whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well,
    and are not afraid with any amazement.

    BUT – What about “obligations” for husbands?
    That you left out? From the following verses?

    1 Pet 3:7-8 KJV
    7 Likewise, ye husbands,
    dwell with them according to knowledge,
    giving honour unto the wife,
    as unto the weaker vessel,
    and as being heirs together of the grace of life;
    that your prayers be not hindered.

    8 Finally, be ye all of one mind,
    having compassion one of another,
    love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

    And Gal 5:13 KJV
    By love “Serve one another?”

    And, Eph 5:21 KJV, 1 Pet 5:5 KJV
    Submitting “One to Another?”

    “Do you have a problem with this?”

    If a husband is NOT giving honour unto the wife?

    If a husband is NOT “having compassion?”For his wife?
    NO concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of his wife?
    NOT ”being courteous?” polite? respectful? considerate?
    To His wife.

    If a husband is NOT willing to “Serve His Wife”
    “Serve one another?”

    If a husband is NOT willing to “Submit to his wife?”
    Submitting “One to Another?”

    Is he one of His Disciples? Oy Vey!!!
    Or just a dis-obedient Disciple?

    How are your “obligations” towards your wife doing?

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Tom
    Husbands, who say they are His Disciples…
    Are to love their wives.

    Eph 5:25 KJV
    Husbands, love your wives,
    even as Christ also loved the church,
    and gave himself for it;

    And, Jesus, came to serve and NOT be served.

    Husbands have some everyday charactor traits to live up to.

    Aren’t christian husbands to be living examples of…

    1 – NOT lording it over “God’s heritage?”
    1 Pet 5:3 KJV
    2 – Lowliness of mind?
    Phil 2:3 KJV
    3 – Esteeming others (Wives) “better” than themselves?
    Phil 2:3 KJV
    4 – Submitting “One to Another?”
    Eph 5:21 KJV, 1 Pet 5:5 KJV
    5 – Prefering others (Wives) before themselves?
    Rom 12:10 KJV
    6 – By love “Serve one another?”
    Gal 5:13 KJV
    7 – Laying down their lives for the brethren? Their Wives?
    1 John 3:16 KJV
    8 – NOT speaking of themselves,
    NOT seeking their own glory? John 7:18 KJV
    9 – NOT “Exercising Authority” like the Gentiles?”
    Mark 10:42-43. KJV
    10 – Being clothed with humility?
    1 Pet 5:5 KJV

    10 – Humility –
    a modest, or low estimate of ones own importance.

    Know many? any? who promote?
    A woman OBEYING her husband?
    Taking orders? Calling him “lord”?”

    Who are humble?

    Having a modest, low estimate, of their own importance?

    But he that is greatest among you shall be your SERVANT.
    And whosoever shall EXALT himself shall be abased;
    and he that shall HUMBLE himself shall be exalted.
    Mat 23:11-12 KJV


  52. Hi Julie Anne

    You missed the comment…

    And, I have missed you… 😇

    Hope and pray ALL is well.

    Jesus, rejoices over you with singing.

    Zephaniah 3:17, CEB, Common English Bible

    The Lord your God is in your midst
    a warrior bringing victory.
    He will create calm with his love;
    He will rejoice over you with singing.

    Be Blessed,
    And, continue to be a Blessing.


  53. So sorry to learn about your marriage. What a shocking response from ‘Tom Huntford’. As a man I experienced domestic abuse of a spiritual nature. My ex-wife was a very well respected chaplain working in healthcare. She used that position of trust to conceal her controlling abuse at home. She knew no-one would take me seriously and she would tell me “I can do whatever I like to you, you can’t do anything about it”. She was so sure everyone would believe her & when she made false allegations most people did exactly that. She would hide her abuse by telling others that as the man, I was her spiritual leader and she willingly submitted to me. It was not true and she had installed herself as the dominant one, but it helped her to conceal her abuse by portraying herself as the submissive woman. Fortunately I didn’t delete the journal in which I documented some of her abuse while barricaded behind a door so I could escape her control & write about what had just happened. It tallies with other documentary evidence and it is date auditable. At the end I wasn’t strong enough to cope very well with terrible police attitudes that some in “the church” simply reinforce. Despite subsequently receiving a profuse apology from the police for the dreadful way they treated me, I am still sometimes accused by some senior church leaders, but others are very kind. In some ways those attitudes are worse than the abuse itself. I have bounced back sufficiently to now be achieving significant improvements to attitudes to male (as well as female) domestic abuse victims in churches and elsewhere. I refuse to be silent. I have to speak up to prevent this happening to others.


  54. God bless you Julie for helping all the other people in this world that you have helped and are in the process of now helping more


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