The Dangerous Teachings of Lori Alexander of The Transformed Wife

Lori Alexander, Depression, Suicide

-by Julie Anne and Kathi

delete

Lori Alexander (Facebook photo)

Lori Alexander runs a blog and Facebook page called The Transformed Wife. Her Facebook page has over 21,000 followers! She models her ministry using the Titus 2 idea of older women teaching younger women. After 23 years of a difficult marriage, she claims her marriage improved after she applied God’s principles to her life; so she feels qualified to share with her followers how she learned to submit to her husband, and thus, have a happy marriage.

Lori appeals to women who want to be godly and obedient wives, serving their husbands. But as Kathi and I read her articles, we are alarmed by some of her teachings. Some of them put wives in harm’s way. Other teachings minimize serious mental health issues, or attempt to solve them by simply praying.

We are thankful to a reader on our Facebook page that brought to our attention Lori’s recent actions. Lori wrote a post this past week about depression and suicide among women and linked the post to her Facebook page.

We were sent this screenshot which shows a woman stating that she contemplated taking her own life. Lori’s response is to go to the Bible for strength. Thankfully, another reader responded with the advice to seek help immediately through the suicide hotline.

***

18926998_10207627233312602_732518184_o copy

***

As of yesterday, Lori has removed the above comments from her Facebook page article.

I (KB) also responded to a woman who laments over being asked by her doctor if she is feeling any depression. Thank goodness this woman has a doctor who cares! Sometimes it only takes asking a person, “How are you?” to save a life.

Screenshot 2017-06-03 at 1.53.01 PM

***

Now my comment to this woman has been removed from Lori’s Facebook page.

This shows the true heart of Lori through her actions of removing critical information that could help save someone’s life. Lori also can’t seem to handle the fact that doctors play an essential role in mental health care.

It’s important to note that Lori is often challenged by reasonable people, encouraging proper medical or mental health care. Lori, or her husband, Ken, usually delete these comments, so all you end up seeing are accolades of her like-minded followers who pat her on the back telling her how right she is. Her blog and Facebook page is solely: Lori’s way or the highway. She does not accept challenge or corrective criticism. She and her husband believe that anyone who counters her is obviously not godly and dismissed as being the work of Satan.

Lori Alexander is treading in dangerous territory. Her words could lead someone to suicide if their mental health issues don’t clear up by her prescription of prayer and reading Scripture. She treats depression/suicide as a sin, when it could be the result of a medical condition, abuse, PTSD, etc.

If there is anyone reading here today that is a follower of Lori, we urge you to walk away from her. Her teachings are dangerous and she cares more about her ideology than people in need of help.

If you are in need of any help in regard to domestic violence, spiritual abuse, or mental health issues, we are here for you. Please reach out. You will find a caring community that cares more about you as a person than any ideology that you should follow.

Lori Alexander’s Damaging Advice Regarding Depression

Lori Alexander, Depression, Counseling

-by Kathi

Lori Alexander recently posted a YouTube video on her channel titled, “Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself.”

***

 

I have to ask this first: Why are people still making videos of themselves in their cars? I guess Lori was driving somewhere, had an inspirational moment about self-pity, and just had to record her thoughts right away. Does she want us to know that she actually does get out of the house?

Lori tells us that she has had years of illness, brain surgery, and problems with her neck and back, and watched those around her enjoy life. But her illnesses didn’t stop her from feeling sorry for herself. She learned from Oswald Chambers that self-pity is Satanic, therefore she wants nothing to do with self-pity.

Lori offers the following teaching for how to deal with suffering:

  1. Repeat: “The joy of the Lord is my strength” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  2. Listen to praise songs.
  3. Study I Peter and Philippians over and over. Renew your mind with God’s truth.
  4. Understand that you cannot be thankful and grateful if you are full of self-pity.
  5. Kick out self-pity quickly.

Lori acknowledges that depression and self-pity may be due to a bad childhood, abuse, or “whatever.” (Seriously, “whatever?” She is so empathetic.) Here’s the thing, folks….Lori Alexander is not a trained counselor and has no business telling people how to deal with depression!

Lori’s advice is dangerous because victims of childhood trauma and adult victims of abuse don’t just “kick out self-pity quickly.” Our brain is a complex creature and no one deals with trauma the same way. Telling people to “get over it” is not helpful and is more damaging. It is spiritually abusive to tell people that if they can’t stop feeling sorry for themselves then they don’t trust in God. Don’t fall for this lie. Continue reading

Let’s Discuss: The Keepers, Netflix Documentary Series about the Murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik and Systemic Sexual Abuse

The Keepers, Netflix, Cathy Cesnik, Systemic Sexual Abuse, Catholic Church, Spiritual Abuse, Clergy Sexual Abuse



***

The Keepers is a new documentary series airing on Netflix. I have watched 5 of the episodes and it is excellent. If you have seen Spotlight, it is similar, however, the investigative reporters in this case are two grandmas who have spent the last three years compiling details of the case and trying to get answers as to who killed their beloved former high school teacher, Sister Cathy Cesnik in 1969.

Like the movie, Spotlight, the series uncovers systemic sexual abuse of female students at Archbishop Keough High School in Maryland by Father Maskell who was a counselor on campus. When I refer to the word “systemic,” I mean it is a whole system of cover-up and abuse. Father Joseph Maskell was not the only one who committed the crimes. His friends in high places also committed sexual crimes and helped to conceal the crimes: police officers, businessmen in the community, etc.

The first episode lays the groundwork for the story and introduces the main characters. Then, the second episode goes into repulsive, unimaginable sexual abuse descriptions. This episode is definitely difficult to watch and I would caution those who get triggered by topics of abuse to be very careful watching it. The second episode was the most difficult for me to watch, but this is important information to know how insidious these crimes were, not only sexually, but spiritually.

Because this documentary series is being discussed so much, I wanted to have a post specifically to address it, and especially to be a place where people can discuss how it may have affected them.

So, let’s use this post to discuss how the show may have affected us and try not to include spoilers for those who have not yet watched it.

Below, I have gathered a variety of links that may be of interest. I encourage you to check out the first link, especially. It is excellent.

Note:  While this sexual abuse scandal – also connected with the systemic abuse cover up with cases around the world uncovered by the Boston Globe Spotlight team occurred in the Catholic Church, Protestant churches are not exempt from these types of scandals. We know of the  Sovereign Grace Ministries sexual abuse scandal which is still ongoing. I am personally aware of several others that are “under the radar.” No one church group is exempt from systemic abuse.

***


Related Links

A website was set up for the movie here:  The Keepers. I am very impressed with the information presented at the site, from information about the series, to helpful resources for survivors, therapies, systemic abuse, how to help, etc.

The following links are related and may be of interest:

Ex-Pastor Tullian Tchividjian Speaks Out at Website for Ex-Pastors

Tullian Tchividjian article at ExPastors.com, clergy sex abuse, suicide, repentance, restoration


***

Only one month after Tullian Tchividjian remarried, he has publicly released a new article at a site for former pastors, ExPastors.com. In the article, The Freedom in Losing it All, Tchividjian shares lessons he has learned about himself since his sexual scandal.

 

The following is an excerpt from the article: Continue reading

Troubling Tweets: Biblical Counseling to Treat Schizophrenia, Bulimia, Depression, ADHD?

Mental Health, Biblical Counseling, Geoffrey Kirkland, Addictions, Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar, Bulimia, ADHD


 

This evening, I tweeted the following:

After seeing this tweet:

Who is Geoffrey Kirkland?

From Geoffrey Kirkland’s bio:

Geoff grew up in St. Louis and then moved to LA to go to the Master’s College. God saved Geoff in 2001. Geoff loves studying, preaching, and discipling men in the truth of the Word. But most of all, Geoff’s passion is to shepherd his wife, Elizabeth, and five children: Hezekiah, Tikvah, Emunah, Kesed, and Ahavah. Geoff is a graduate of The Master’s College (BA), The Master’s Seminary (MDiv and ThM), and Baptist Bible Seminary (PhD). Source

At the Christ Fellowship Bible Church website, we can read  their distinctives. Here is their distinctive on Biblical counseling:

Counseling & Psychology
We believe that the Bible is wholly sufficient for all of life and godliness. Therefore, the Bible has the answers for any and every problem that may arise. We find our wisdom and counsel from God’s Word and apply it to the specific counseling situation so that the Spirit-indwelt person can implement biblical principles and get to the root of the sin-issue and replace that sin with a Godly and holy virtue. We do not practice psychology, psychotherapy, or so-called ‘Christian psychology’; we practice biblical counseling.

 

So, what’s the big deal about this Biblical Counseling PDF?

Go ahead and see for yourself. This pdf on “Biblical Counseling” claims to have the answers on how to treat addictions, depression, schizophrenia, bulimia, ADHD, etc. I’ve highlighted a few examples below.

A brief excerpt from Biblical Counseling On Depression

The Root Issue Biblically, depression always involves hopelessness & it manifests a low view of God at that moment.

3  crucial biblical counseling diagnostic questions related to depression:

  1. Could God have changed the circumstances? (yes)
  2. Did he? (no)
  3. Is God good? (yes)

We must constantly repeat this in our counseling our own hearts (and others)

A brief excerpt from Biblical Counseling  On Eating Disorders

The Biblical Truth

Overeating Is Not an Addiction Some overeaters label themselves “food addicts,” believing they are addicted to food. However, addiction is not a biblical term. The world uses this terminology to describe the behavior of someone who is controlled by a substance. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines addiction in this way: “To devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively.” But the danger in labeling overeating as “addiction” is that it undermines the personal conviction of sin. If the problem is not sin, then you will look for solutions in a system of theories, not in the person of Jesus Christ. [This is fundamental to biblical counseling!]

A brief excerpt from Biblical Counseling On  Guidelines for Counseling the Sexually Abused

Bill Gothard spanking

I found this section very disturbing. The first part is a very tough pill for many survivors to swallow. Some will interpret this to mean that God has acted as an abuser because He is Sovereign and knew abuse was going to happen, yet didn’t stop it from happening:

God is sovereign (Job 1-2; Eph 1:11; Rom 8:28-29; Gen 50:20)

It doesn’t get any better here:

Why does God allow abuse?

(1) To bring deliverance to others. Gen. 50:20

(2) To build character in us. Rom. 5:3-5 James 1:2-5 I Pet. 1:6-9

(3) To equip us to comfort others. II Co. 1:3-11

(4) To display the works of God. John 9:1-3

(5) To help us to appreciate the hope we have in Christ. Rom. 8:18,28-29

I hope Elder-Shepherd Kirkland has a good insurance policy in order. It sounds like he could be “treating” folks out of the scope of his educational qualifications. Kirkland’s PhD is no MD, and I am concerned that his counseling could put people in harm’s way, especially those who need medical treatment.

 

 

My Personal Mental Health Story: When Christians Say Potentially Harmful Words to Someone in a Mental Health Crisis

***

 Mental Health, prayer, Bible, professional counseling, harmful advice

***

A friend found this quote and was very disturbed by it. When I saw it, I was equally disturbed…no, make that horrified, because it brought me back to a very difficult time in my life when it was said to me by well-meaning Christians:

***

mental illness

***

The reason I was horrified is that I was told this when I was in the midst of a mental health crisis. Let me tell you my personal story.

In 1990, I had a 4-month old infant and a 3-1/2-yr old daughter. I was away from my husband and living with my parents because he was in the military and was sent to Persian Gulf working in Operation Desert Shield (right before Operation Desert Storm). You see, within a 6-wk period of time, the following events occurred:

  • We were stationed in the Philippines and there was a major earthquake nearby (reports vary on the magnitude, 7.7 to 7.9).
  • My daughter, Hannah, fell off a 25-ft cliff, landing on concrete at the beach at Wallace Air Station, a remote base we were visiting, attempting to recuperate after the trauma of experiencing a major earthquake (we experienced a 6.0 aftershock while we were there). Daughter was miraculously fine.
Wallace Air Station, Depression, PTSD, earthquake, spiritual abuse,

You can see the cliff in this picture. The other side of the cliff is where my daughter and I were when she fell. On the other side of the cliff/point is a retaining wall with steep stairs. She fell after getting to the top of the first flight and slipping, about 25 feet, straight drop onto concrete. You can see the date stamp on the photo. The earthquake was on July 16, 1990.

***

Here are a couple of pictures I took on our way to Wallace Air Station to stay at the Voice of America R&R facility. We passed through Dagupan, close to the epicenter which saw extensive destruction. Some buildings sank into the ground by one meter.

***

IMG_5058

Notice how the bottom floor has sunk. People were still living in the upper levels of these lopsided buildings, nearly 2 months later.


IMG_5059

I believe this was in the city of Dagupan.

***

Aside from the earthquake event, there were also these stressors:

  • On base, local Filipinos tried to break into my home when I was alone with our children. I saw their eyes peering into my bedroom as I was nursing my baby in the middle of the night (thankfully, they were apprehended).
  • There were bomb threats on base. We were often forced to take detours. Sometimes I just wanted to get a gallon of milk or cash a check and these detours were annoying. And yes, sometimes they found bombs.
  • We lived in a constant level of threat conditions due to New People’s Army Communist Rebels (we did get hazard duty pay, however). Based on the threat condition, either we were confined to base, had curfews, and/or had strict traveling restrictions.

Yea, it was a little stressful.

The ground continued to move for months after the earthquake. Aftershocks were sometimes 6.0 or above…..yes, aftershocks. When your world is shaking around you, you have a sense of being out of control. That describes my response and the response of many who were living under these conditions at that time. So, I left the Philippines with my two children for a temporary break, to get on solid ground that wasn’t moving.

What is wrong with me?

I went “home” to my parents’ and told my close Christian friends about my emotional state. People told me to pray . . . to read my Bible more . . that perfect love casts out fear. There was a lot of spiritual advice given by those who meant to help, but actually made things worse. When I prayed and read my Bible more, nothing changed. I continued to feel the ground moving and have flashbacks even though I was now on sturdy ground with my parents in Oregon.

I sought help from Biblical counselors who talked to me about my sin. I searched my heart for any unconfessed sin and repented. The earthquakes continued. What was WRONG with me?

I did everything they told me, but the symptoms would not go away. Why was God not hearing my prayers? Did He not care for me? If He loved me, why wasn’t He protecting me from the nonstop tormenting that was in my mind?

I stayed very busy. I jammed praise music loudly all day. I focused on my children and prayer and recited verses to myself to keep my focus heavenward.

As I drove to every church meeting I could attend, I had to cross bridges. Many of the approaches to the bridges were wiped out during the earthquake in the Philippines, so now it was now very difficult to cross any bridge. I kept seeing the Philippine bridges in my mind. I pushed the accelerator to get across the bridge faster as my heart raced.

I also had to go through a tunnel to get to my familiar church. It was very difficult to go through the tunnel without panicking and thinking that the mountain might cave on me – just like I had seen the mountain and buildings destroyed in my favorite R&R in the Philippines, Baguio/Camp John Hay. (Click on this link to see the destruction. After the earthquake, I was glued to the local Philippine TV as they covered stories, deaths, rescues. Why was I alive when so many died? Survivors guilt!)

If I went to any store or building (now in the States), I scouted out all of the emergency exits first thing. I was going to be the one prepared and would get out alive by having this information.

Where was God in all of this?

My life was in survival mode and I expended much energy surviving imaginary earthquakes. As hard as I tried, I was unable to stop the direction of my thinking patterns. I truly believe that the only thing that kept me alive was recounting Hannah’s story of falling off the 25-ft cliff. I was there when she fell and knew that she was either going to be completely paralyzed or with major injuries, or she would be dead. There was no other option in my mind, knowing that she had landed on concrete and it was a straight drop. When all other advice failed, Hannah’s story was the hope I clung to – – that if God could save her, He could save me.

One night at dinner with my parents, I felt an earthquake and asked my Mom if she felt it.  She didn’t. I told her to look at the chandelier moving. She said it wasn’t moving. That’s when she said that I needed to get help – professional help.

You see, I was going on a downward spiral. I was very sleep deprived having a child who was missing her daddy and wetting her bed each night. She cried herself to sleep and wet the bed every night. I had to take care of her, plus be awakened the four times my infant was nursing each night. My parents both worked, so no one could help me get extra sleep that I desperately needed. I was physically, emotionally, spiritually exhausted.

I found a Christian psychologist to go to and went reluctantly because I thought that I should have been able to get my problems solved by prayer and Bible reading.  Wasn’t my God big enough?

When I first went, I started sharing my earthquake experience. But David started asking me questions about my childhood. I got angry at him for asking those questions. What did my childhood have to do with the earthquake?  Eventually, he realized that this redhead had a story to tell about the earthquake and since I was paying for his services, he ought to listen to me.

He listened. And listened. And when I could speak no more about the earthquake, he asked again, “so what about the earthquake was like your childhood.”  Very reluctantly, I spent time discussing my childhood.

I was in a situation in which I could not control.

Eventually, it hit me . . . and hit me hard. When I was in the earthquake, I was in a situation in which I could not control. When I was a child, from the time I was 3 until I was 19, I also lived in a home where I had no control.

In my childhood, I was living with a rage-aholic – a man who raged in anger with little-to-no provocation. Just a simple look on my face, or a chore not done could send him off into a rage. Through the years, I’ve met other professional counselors and all of them have told me that his behavior was just like that of an alcoholic, but minus the alcohol.

What the earthquake did was mimic that out-of-control feeling I had. When the ground was shaking back and forth, it mimicked my dad grabbing me by my shoulders and banging me against the wall, sometimes with my head hitting the cupboard handles and ending up with knots on my head. That shaking . . oh, that shaking . . .it was horrifying. Being smacked and kicked, tossed and shaken about as a child is something I could not stop – just like I could not stop the ground from moving in the Philippines after the earthquake.

You see, this psychologist showed me how to connect with the feelings of abandonment, the anger and pain of knowing a parent had violated my body and my personhood that I had long buried. I had forgiven my dad, I had moved on, but there was obviously, I had unfinished business.

This man heard my cries, the cries that so many adults had dismissed and ignored when I shared my story with them as a child. When my dad beat me, I refused to let him see me cry. Only when he was done would I go into the corner of my room, curl myself into a ball and cry . . . by myself.  No one heard my cries. But David did . . now, some 10-20 years later.

He validated the abuse and called it by name, telling me I was not crazy. He walked in the trenches with me as I relived that horrible abuse. I fought going back to those memories, but facing it was what I needed to do to recover. It was very difficult work and left me physically and emotionally exhausted.

Set Free

The counseling that I received occurred nearly 25 years ago. I was in counseling for probably 2 years or so. During that time, I thought that scoping out exit signs, speeding across bridges, feeling the ground moving would be my new normal for the rest of my life.  When the earthquake anniversary date came around for 2 years, I had setbacks. On the 3rd anniversary, I missed it entirely. I didn’t even think about the earthquake. I finally knew I was no longer held captive by the war within my brain. I was free and still am free, even when I hear of major earthquakes now. This is amazing, considering what I had gone through.

Pat answers don’t always work

But the quote about prayer being the answer to mental illness is not always true. Of course prayer helps, but it is not always the quick cure, and to portray it as such could be deadly for those who are in a crisis. This quote could be a death sentence for some who fear that even God has abandoned them since they can’t see/feel His healing. The logical progression is:  life is not worth living if even God has abandoned me and hasn’t helped me.

We must be careful with our words about mental illness and giving pat answers. Lives are at stake.  I thank God for mental health professionals who have the skills and tools to bring truth and hope into a hurting individual’s life. I am probably alive because of David, my therapist. Thank you, God, for using David in my life when I was at the end of my rope and about to let go.

***

Can High-Controlling Pastors Lead Their Members into Depression and Even Suicide?

 

Commenters share about high-controlling pastors who leave a path of mental health destruction, even suicide, because they cannot get appropriate help.

Continue reading

Patterns of Abuse: What we can learn from the death and suicide letter of GOP Senate Aide, Jesse Loskarn?

***

Patterns of Abuse:  What we can learn from the death and suicide letter of GOP Senate Aide, Jesse Loskarn?

*** Continue reading

Biblical Counseling: Is it Always Safe? – And Pastoral Response to Abuse Survivor

*     *     *

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.

Matt. 5:3-4

Today I stumbled across a disturbing article at One Lost Child blog.  Blogger Cathy raises concerns regarding the care  women will receive at Freedom Home for Women under Dr. Jim Berg, Executive Director. The article can be found here:   Run! You’ll Find Bondage At “Freedom Home!”

The Freedom Home for Women is a facility using “Biblical counseling” in treating their clients.

Continue reading

BeenThereDoneThat and Flying Free: Spiritual Abuse, A Personal Story

*     *     *

This story is a special one to me.  Regular reader, “BeenThereDoneThat” (BTDT) has been commenting on this blog since the first weeks here.  During that time, I have watched her in her commenting as she has been recovering through a very difficult spiritually abusive church experience.

Continue reading

Spiritual Abuse: Faith Healing and Parallels

*     *     *

By this all people will know that you are my disciples,

if you have love for one another. John 13:35

Image

This next story is sad.  It reminded me of the many deaths attributed to “faith healing” at the Followers of Christ church near my former town in Oregon.   Churches who practice faith healing avoid all medical interventions and treatment when sick or injured and instead rely solely on God and their faith for healing.  Using medical care is viewed as sinful and signifies a lack of faith.   There are many articles at this link covering the many cases involving the members of the Followers of Christ church over the years.

Jesus told her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.

Go in peace! Be cured from your illness.”

Mark 5:34

Continue reading

We Need Safe Places, Or, Overturning Tables

*     *     *

Many of you know of my partnership with Homeschoolers Anonymous. In this blog, survivors have told their sometimes sad and disturbing stories of what it was like growing up as a homeschooled student. Here is how I connected with them.

There is a subculture within the bigger umbrella of Christian homeschooling that is commonly referred to as the Homeschool Movement – it is an important distinction as I have discussed here. In blogging circles, I started to see stories come out from former homeschoolers and have included some here because I, as a homeschool mom of 20+ years, was unknowingly sucked into the movement and want people to be aware of what has been going on with a whole group of young people. R. L. Stollar (Ryan) also noticed troubling patterns among his peers, which prompted him to begin the Homeschoolers Anonymous blog.

Continue reading

Black and White Teachings from the Pulpit: Helpful or Not?

*     *     *    

“Mental illness” is a poor term, sounding like “It’s just your mind.”
But a broken brain is as physical as a broken bone. 
Rick Warren tweeted 4/13/13 a week after his son committed suicide.  
 

I still have a couple of more thoughts regarding the Nally suicide case discussed last week:  How do Churches Handle Difficult Mental Health Cases, Biblical Counseling, and the Law? and Biblical Counseling and Mental Health Crises: Does it Always Work?.

PHOTO

photo credit: Roberto Giannotti via photopin cc

As a recap, here is why John MacArthur and three other pastors from Grace Community were sued following the 1979  suicide death of 24-yr old member and bible college student, Kenneth Nally:

The suit charges that the defendants knew young Nally needed professional psychiatric care but actively dissuaded him from seeking it. In addition it is claimed that Nally’s turmoil was worsened by the religious guidance he received—guidance that “exacerbated Kenneth Nally’s preexisting feelings of guilt, anxiety and depression” and characterized suicide as a legitimate remedy for an unsuccessful life. (Source)

Continue reading

How do Churches Handle Difficult Mental Health Cases, Biblical Counseling, and the Law?

*     *     *

PHOTO

photo credit: epSos.de via photopin cc

A friend sent me a tragic story this morning.   It is an older story from 1979 involving John MacArthur’s church, Grace Community Church, and a young man, Kenneth Nally, who at the age of 24 shot himself and died.   He suffered from depression and sought counsel from church leaders/counselors.  The counseling provided at Grace Community is biblical counseling.  They do not claim to be trained mental health professionals.

Kenneth’s father, Walter Nally, later filed a $1 million lawsuit against Grace Community Church and four leaders for malpractice and negligence in their son’s death.

Continue reading

Biblical Counseling and Mental Health Crises: Does it Always Work?

*     *     *

I have been seeing a lot of response online regarding the death of Matthew Warren last week.

As you are probably aware, Matthew, age 27, was the youngest son of Pastor Rick Warren, and last Friday after many years of depression and despair, he ended his own life.

Continue reading