Lori Alexander Dishes Out Heartless Advice to Wife Who Was Sexually Abused

Admin note: This post is not part of Kathi’s ongoing series reviewing Lori Alexander’s book, The Transformed Wife, but is a “special report,” if you will. The following was brought to our attention, and Kathi and I feel strongly that this kind of “counseling” needs to be addressed publicly. This advise can cause great harm to women emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It is cruel! Thank you, Kathi for putting this post together. ~Julie Anne


The Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Ken Alexander, Sexual Assault

-by Kathi

 

Previously we have discussed Lori Alexander’s damaging advice about depression and how her teachings may keep women in abusive marriages. As of this writing, Lori has over 27,000 followers on her Facebook page. Many of these new followers are giving Lori push back on her teachings. In response, Lori is deleting comments as fast as possible.

Lori recently wrote on her blog Rebellious Women Defraud Their Husbands and a young woman posted a comment on The Transformed Wife’s Facebook page. I watched in disgust as Lori and Ken offered heartless counsel to this woman.

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Claire indicates that she was sexually assaulted in her past and even though she is in a loving relationship, she is currently experiencing physical symptoms (vomiting, “body reacts”) when having sex. A quick glance at this suggests that this woman may be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. How does Lori suggest taking care of this problem? By listening to Michael Pearl’s teachings on Romans. Ugh.

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Ken then chimes in and offers very little comfort. Why is Ken commenting anyway? He needs to get off Lori’s “women’s only” blog and Facebook page and keep his comments to himself. He has no right giving women advice if Lori isn’t allowed to give men advice.

Ken starts off by letting Claire know that Lori really can’t help her because, “Lori’s brief post cannot address such rare cases.” So Claire’s “rare case” is of no concern except to continue to push their agenda (and Michael Pearl too). Ken also addresses Claire’s inability to physically enjoy sex by saying:

To have a relationship in marriage you must seek intimacy, and to seek intimacy requires vulnerability and trust. If you cannot learn to enjoy sex with your spouse you are defrauding him. One can give any number of excuses why they are justified in depriving a spouse, but such things are all self-centered and not loving towards their spouse.

He dares to say this to a woman who has experienced sexual trauma! He is telling Claire that she is making excuses for her inability to enjoy sex with her husband. Nice, Ken. By the way, Ken is a consultant to orthodontists and has no expertise in the area of trauma, so why does he think he has the right to counsel someone who is a victim of sexual assault? What he should be doing is offering to help her find sexual assault resources in her area so she can begin healing.

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Claire responds to Lori and Ken by saying she can “try harder.” My heart is breaking here for Claire and my mind is raging at Ken and Lori. Claire needs to seek professional help to deal with her trauma. “Trying harder” isn’t going to work if she hasn’t dealt with her past experiences.

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Then Josh (why is this dude chiming in on a women-only page?) has the gall to tell Claire that she should be able to differentiate between sex with her husband and her past sexual assaults. Which leads heartless Lori to state:

Claire (redacted) if you truly believed that you are dead and freed from you [sic] sin and your past and that you are now a new creature in Christ, you would have no problem being intimate with your husband.

“If you truly believed…you would have no problem.” Nice way to shame a victim of sexual assault, Lori. Lori truly does not care about helping other people. She only cares about pushing her agenda and hoping that one of her blog posts will go viral again.

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By the way, you won’t see any of these comments on The Transformed Wife’s Facebook page because she deleted the entire thread. Lori and Ken could have offered compassion and understanding and assistance and given resources in this woman’s area. They could have kept the thread up and offered hope to someone else who has experienced what this woman is going through. But this is Lori. If another woman’s issue doesn’t fit in a nice, neat, perfectly submissive package, Lori doesn’t know what to do with it except delete.

I will reiterate again what has been said on previous posts; if you are here reading from Lori Alexander’s page, please stop looking to her for advice. You will only find her standard answers to everything as she seems to lack the ability to think about another person’s unique situation.

If you are a victim of abuse and would like help in finding resources in your area, please send us an email noted in the contact section. If you feel comfortable commenting on the post, you will find kind and compassionate people here to support you. If you are not comfortable with reaching out to us but would like information on abuse resources, here are some good places to start:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

National Child Abuse Hotline: 800-422-4453

*Special thanks to Facebook page, Lori Alexander Undeleted for capturing a couple of the screenshots that I was not able to obtain.

Pastor Chuck O’Neal Continues to Pull the Wool over His Evangelist Friends’ Eyes

Chuck O’Neal, Beaverton Grace Bible Church, Jeff Rose, Dr. Edward Delcour, Mike Gendron, Mike Stockwell, and Robert Gray, Evangelism Reformation Conference, Reformation Fire Conference

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I don’t have a problem with those tweets. On the surface, they are fine. But even false teachers get things right. The Bible tells us:

For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Jude 1:4

 

I haven’t done a post on my ex-pastor for quite a while, but I’ve been disturbed lately to see that he has found a niche with people who agree with him on evangelism, yet probably do not have a clue about his background.

I discovered after the fact that Chuck O’Neal had joined with Voddie Baucham, Scott Brown, Mark Spence, Dr. Jason Lisle,  Jeff Rose, Ben Seewald, Jeff Pollard at the Evangelism Reformation Conference in Texas in June 2017.

 

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This was the only tweet that I found from O’Neal on his Twitter timeline about the conference. He’s known to post many tweets to upcoming events, so it’s odd that he only did one tweet before the event.

 

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However, looking through his Twitter timeline, it appears that Chuck O’Neal and his church, Beaverton Grace Bible Church, is also sponsoring/hosting and speaking at a conference with speakers in August 2017.

 

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Why do I even care about what Chuck O’Neal does? Why don’t I just move on? Why does it matter to me?

 

lawsuits chuck O'neal beaverton grace bible church

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The $500,000 lawsuit he filed against me was dismissed about 5 years ago. It matters to me as much today as it did when I posted my first negative Google review about him many years ago. He portrays himself as a godly man, likable, committed Christian, etc, but beneath that facade, he is a fraud. More than that, he is a wolf who devours. Those were the words I used when he took me to court years ago. But nothing has changed.

I care because while he is finding his fairly new niche in the broader evangelism community by making friends on social media and then connecting, these people with whom he meets and speaks do not sit in his pews. They do not see his behavior on a weekly basis. They do not see how he treats people in his church and people who have left his church.

It’s easy to say, “Oh, yea, I know him, he’s a great guy” when you only know him based on evangelism or pro-life connections, but that is not who this man really is.

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I’m sure that most do not have any idea that while he is currently “evangelizing” and speaking on evangelizing, he has anti-evangelized for over a decade and people have been left bruised, battered, and some have even abandoned their faith due to his abusive leadership.

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To those who have worked with O’Neal in evangelism or pro-life efforts, please be advised that when you endorse this man, fellowship with him, speak with him, you are endorsing a false teacher and a wolf. If you recommend Chuck O’Neal to someone who is looking for a church in the Portland area, you are sending people into the arms of one who spiritually harms people.

I get it. You think I’m nuts because Chuck O’Neal is so nice, wouldn’t hurt a fly, has nothing but the love of God in him. I know how he presents himself. That’s what I thought when my family started attending his church. Some who read this will doubt me. I understand that. However, after reading this post, and looking at the links, you cannot deny that the behavior described is troubling. It’s not enough for you to ask Chuck O’Neal about my claims. Obviously a wolf is going to speak strongly against anyone who exposes him. He has a whole website against me to convince you that I’m the one who is wrong and he uses all sorts of “proof” that I am evil and not to be trusted. That is foolish.

 

If you care about the Gospel, care about families, care about the spiritual health of people, please do due diligence and do your homework on this man.

 

What’s disturbing to me is this man has been able to pull the wool over so many men’s eyes. Have they done due diligence in investigating O’Neal or his history? All it takes is a simple Google search to see that there are many issues with Chuck O’Neal that show up on the internet. Has any of the people he is teaming with chosen to reach out to his victims? No one has contacted me. My contact information is pretty easy to find on Twitter, Facebook, blog, etc. If you would like to speak/connect with people who have been harmed by Chuck O’Neal, I can give you references.

Do they realize that:

  • that numerous people, including pastors at John Mac Arthur’s Grace Community Church,  advised him to withdraw the lawsuit, but he refused.
  • his ministerial license was revoked by the same group who administered it (I can provide names and contact information of longtime godly pastors who licensed him years ago, and then revoked the license).
  • he purchased domain names similar to the name of an ex-congregant in order to “phish” traffic to your site he can spread gossip about ex-members he sued?  Chuck O’Neal
  • he has encouraged shunning for years. If you leave the church, he conveys to the congregation that you were in some sort of church discipline (completely ignoring the church bylaws on church discipline). Many people who left the church on their own were later found out that Chuck O’Neal had “excommunicated” them. He hadn’t informed them of this, but this is what congregants later told them. Congregants were told to never have any contact with those who had left, or they too would be put on the shun list (Mark and Avoid list). I have personal accounts of this “church discipline” shunning practice used as a spiritual weapon by Chuck O’Neal going back at least 15 years. Here is only one story. I know of many others. In Chuck O’Neal’s church, you cannot leave well unless you are moving out of the area for work, etc.

 


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Special note to Jeff Rose, Dr. Edward Delcour, Mike Gendron, Mike Stockwell, and Robert Gray, who are schedule to speak with Chuck O’Neal at his church, Beaverton Grace Bible Church, on August 18-22, 2017:

Gentlemen, I would like to reiterate that I am happy to provide contact information to back up anything I mention in this post. My sole purpose is to alert you that Chuck O’Neal should not be standing behind any pulpit preaching, teaching, or speaking. Why do I do this? Because I have seen the harm done in my personal family and many other families. It is devastating. Please, please, do your due diligence! And ironically, I urge you to please do what Chuck O’Neal suggests in the tweets at the beginning of this blog post.

Blog Series: Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery by Pastor Ken Garrett, Wk 4

Spiritual Abuse, Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse in the church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery


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This is an ongoing series on spiritual abuse using excerpts from Pastor Ken Garrett’s dissertation on spiritual abuse, Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery. We will use excerpts from Ken’s dissertation as a springboard for discussion. You can find all of the other posts in this series here

Ken begins his next section entitled, Cults in America, noting that in the past 50-60 years, an estimated 2,500,000 Americans have been a part of cult groups and how cultists are viewed.

The United States has a strange relationship to cults. A person’s religion can be seen as strange, abnormal, mysterious, or even downright creepy, but as long as that religion does not hurt anyone or break any laws, it is not just tolerated, but protected under law.

He then identifies a few celebrities in American culture who have joined movements and non-traditional groups:

The Beatles had a guru, folk musician John Denver attended and enthusiastically promoted EST (1) courses, Madonna observes Cabalism, and Tina Turner, a self- described Buddhist Baptist, practiced chanting. . .  . Actors, politicians, poets and musicians became Scientologists, espousing the religious creation of science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, seeking personal improvement and happiness through the exploration and study of the immortal, eternal spirit called a Thetan that presumably resides in the human mind and body.

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Ken sitting in front of the church he pastors, Grace Bible Church in Portland, Oregon (the 2nd oldest church in the city).

Apart from Tom Cruise’s involved in the well-known cult, Scientology, when I think of these specific artists that Ken mentioned, I found it interesting that I dismissed their involvement in non-traditional groups or movements in my mind. I have always loved the peaceful sing-along music of John Denver, and it was his musical talent that I focused on, not is spiritual beliefs or practices. Perhaps we as Americans are just tolerant of various practices and we look beyond them, focusing on whatever talent a person has to offer.

Although Americans have long held a benign tolerance for such avant-garde movements and groups, it was not long after their introduction into the religious scene of the nation that disturbing stories arose regarding their inner workings, including accounts of deception, manipulation, and abuse of members. Groups like the Children of God, the Unification Church, the Church of Scientology, the Church Universal and Triumphant, Twelve Tribes, Heaven’s Gate, The People’s Temple, etc., some of which were founded by men and women from Christian homes, experienced various (and v public) scandals and scrutiny. Some of them went on to become bywords of tragedy and death.

It’s important to note that the above-mentioned groups were started by “men and women from Christian homes.” How many people innocently connected and felt safe with the Christian aspect of what these folks were offering, but were then led down a harmful and destructive path? Continue reading

Book Review Series – Lori Alexander’s “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Shhhh…Be Very, Very Quiet, Part 2

The Power of a Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Submission


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-by Kathi

This is a book review series of The Power of a Transformed Wife by Lori Alexander. If you are just joining us, you may click on previous chapter reviews if you’d like to catch up.

Introduction & Chapter 1   Chapter 2   Chapter 3   Chapter 4   Chapter 5   Chapter 6  Chapter 7   Chapter 8 – Part 1

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Chapter 8 – Part 2 – Win Him Without a Word

Due to the length and so much wrong happening, this chapter is broken into two parts. In Part 1 we looked at how Lori teaches wives that they are to be silent partners when it comes to their husband’s transgressions in order to win them to the Lord. Lori insists that a wife in a difficult marriage should continue to remain faithful, follow her husband’s lead, and win him over through her actions of love and service.

To the wife whose husband has had an affair, Lori states:

Now, I know many of you may say that a woman with a husband who is an adulterer has clear biblical reasons to divorce him, but what God has joined together, let no man tear asunder. If we are told to forgive someone seventy times seven and love our enemies, how much more should we forgive a disobedient husband, even it is it’s his seventh transgression?

If a wife continues to stay in this marriage because she believes Lori offers a biblical view,  she will continue to be devastated by her husband’s lack of personal self-control, lack of respect toward her, and disregard toward their marriage. Wives should not feel compelled to remain in a marriage in which she is not being honored and respected.

Surely Lori offers hope to a woman in an abusive marriage.

Some will accuse me of condoning abuse since, in their minds, a wife’s desire for submission always leads to abuse. On the contrary, a woman who is kind and gentle to her husband, seeking to please him, will more than likely draw him to herself instead of making him angry enough to abuse her…It takes a lot of strength to be a woman like this, and it is a weak woman who gives into her emotions and is led astray by her feelings.

I need to pause for a moment and let you all know that Snarky Kathi has stepped aside to allow room for Angry Kathi to show up.

In proper Lori fashion, she places blame toward the woman. If a woman is not kind, gentle, and led astray by her feelings then her husband may become angry enough to abuse her. I am inclined to think that Lori truly believes that it is a woman’s fault if she is abused by her husband. See why I am angry? Does Lori even understand the dynamics behind abusive relationships?

God does not ask a wife to submit to abuse, but too often the word abuse is used so frivolously that it does a disservice to those women who are truly abused. It’s the degree or method of control that determines whether behavior is truly abusive or simply bad behavior.

Is Lori going to inform her readers of what she considers “truly abusive” behavior? Of course not. And, here’s the deal, Lori doesn’t get to define what is “truly abusive!” We have laws and guidelines set in place to determine abuse. I wonder which of these laws and guidelines Lori considers “frivolous.” I sure hope that a woman who goes to Lori for counseling does not let her determine if she is “truly abused.”

Lori states that if a woman has been kind and gentle and yet her husband is overbearing and abusive she should seek counsel from a pastor, counselor, or the police. That all looks good written down, but in the end, Lori is going to tell a woman who seeks police intervention that she will need to remain faithfully married to her abuser. There is absolutely no room for divorce. What good does it do for her to give this advice?

Someone recently started a new Facebook page called Lori Alexander Undeleted. Here is the info about the page: 

This page is dedicated to exposing the dangerous teachings and heartlessness of Lori Alexander.
Coming soon: screenshots of callous statements and deleted comments that are intended to show she is not being bullied and only deletes to prevent respectful discussion.

The following screenshot is a comment that was deleted from Lori Alexander’s The Transformed Wife Facebook page.

 

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A recently deleted comment on The Transformed Wife’s Facebook page and captured by Lori Alexander Undeleted. Content: “First, a suicide hotline number was deleted and now this…I’d say this proves Lori really doesn’t want to help anyone.”

 

If any of Lori’s readers are here, please don’t go to her for advice if you are experiencing emotional, physical, sexual, or spiritual abuse from your husbands. Abuse in any form is never frivolous and should be taken seriously. When you are able, go to the police and a professional counselor for help. If you need help locating resources in your area, send us a message: SpiritualSB@gmail.com. We are more than happy to help you and support you.

There is more to this chapter, but why move on? It is filled with quotes from Michael Pearl and others who comment on her blog. Again, Lori fills almost half a chapter with other people’s words. I think it is more important to highlight the fact that while Lori gives lip service to seeking help for abuse, she is not concerned about helping women get out of abusive relationships.

 

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233. This is a 24/7 free hotline to call for help if you are in an intimate partner violent relationship. Questions regarding how to support a victim of domestic violence are welcome as well. Phone services support over 200 languages.

photo credit: Brian Tomlinson Quiet via photopin (license)

Blog Series: Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery by Pastor Ken Garrett, Wk 3

Spiritual Abuse, Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse in the church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery


Okay, we’re back to our ongoing series on spiritual abuse using excerpts from Ken Garrett’s dissertation on spiritual abuse, Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery. We will use excerpts from Ken’s dissertation as a springboard for discussion.

Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery

Pastor Ken Garrett

In the Introduction, Ken offers helpful definitions. Here is Ken’s definition for cult:

Cult – While most of the terms and ideas that I introduce are simple and easy to grasp, it is apparent in the project that I struggle greatly with the term cult in describing a Christian church. I will better explain and seek resolution to the struggle in subsequent chapters. But for a basic, consistent definition of the word, cult denotes a small, religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous.

While ideology and doctrine always have a role in the health or dysfunction of any religious group, increasingly a group’s status as a cult is derived solely from its actual treatment of its members, and not from its creeds, beliefs, and theology.

I agree with Ken’s definition and note that the treatment of members is key. When I looked at my church, the stories I read about Sovereign Grace Ministries, Doug Phillip’s church (Boerne Christian Assembly), Doug Wilson’s Christ Church, this is the pattern that has been explained to me. The people adopt a culture created by the cult leader, aka pastor. Not only do they adopt this culture, but they cultivate it, endorse it, enforce it, even to the extent that sometimes the pastor/cult leader doesn’t have to do all of the talking. He has raised his faithful devotees to model his expectations. Since all members are “on board” with this culture, any new person who comes to the group and questions it will be the odd man out.

spiritual abuse, Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery

Pic by Ken Garrett, taken on recent trip in Europe.

It does not feel good to swim against the tide, so there is pressure to join the group in their way of doing things. Next thing you know, that new person has become one of them and will also spread this culture and group think to additional new members, forgetting that at one time, they, too, had once questioned aspects of it. Continue reading

“Taking marriage seriously” – what does that mean for a Christian?

Christian Marriage, divorce, domestic violence, abuse, marital counseling, extramarital affairs


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-Taking marriage seriously- means taking the vows seriously and having real consequences for breaking them. The idealists and perfectionists who are trying to turn -marriage- into a protected space for all man.png

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My friend, Valerie Jacobsen posted this statement on her Facebook page and I asked permission to share it. I found it powerful, and yet, so contrary to the way marriage is handled in the church – especially when abuse is involved. I’m sick and tired of women being forced by their pastors/elders to bear the brunt of evil in their marriages by staying in their evil and harmful marriages.

I do not believe for a second that it is godly advice for pastors tell abused wives to remain married to their chronically evil and reviling spouses. If marriage is supposed to be representative of Christ and the church, an abusive marriage is a mockery to Christ. It seems that pastors would want to help rid the church of the blot of evil when there is an abuser clinging to his marriage and refusing to change his evil ways.

Women who leave their chronically cheating and/or abusive husbands are saying NO to evil. It is their husbands who abandoned the marriage long ago when they started their evil ways.

We need to stand beside these women and tell them they are free to go when pastors tell them otherwise. Pastors who give this bad advice are not living with this evil. And I’ll bet that they would not say this kind of thing if it were their daughter living with an abuser. Let’s stop this crazy business!

 

 

 

h/t Hannah Smith for image (taken in Hawaii)

 

 

The Dangerous Teachings of Lori Alexander of The Transformed Wife

Lori Alexander, Depression, Suicide

-by Julie Anne and Kathi

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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. Continue reading

Blog Series: Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery by Pastor Ken Garrett, Wk 2

Spiritual Abuse, Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse in the church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery


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Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery

Pastor Ken Garrett

Ok, here we go, plowing through Pastor Ken Garret’s dissertation about spiritual abuse. I used the word plowing intentionally. For some of us, it will be work. It is not enjoyable to be reminded about difficult experiences. However, some push that pain under the rug and haven’t been able to process it in a safe environment. If you feel ready to do that, come along and join us. Even if you don’t feel ready, you can still read. And for those who have never experienced spiritual abuse, I’m grateful that you are reading, too. Having compassion and understanding is so important in helping someone who has gone through spiritual abuse.

Just an FYI, Ken has removed his dissertation from his blog because he plans to publish it into a book. Ken has graciously allowed us to continue using his original dissertation for this series. (Thanks, Ken!!!)

Well, let’s dig in. Here is the very meaty paragraph we will start with this week:

Abusive churches, past and present, are primarily characterized by strong, control-oriented leadership. These leaders use guilt, fear, and intimidation to manipulate members and keep them in line. Followers are led to think that there is no other church quite like theirs and that God has singled them out for special purposes.

Other, more traditional evangelical churches are put down. Subjective experience is emphasized and dissent is discouraged. Many areas of members’ lives are subject to scrutiny. Rules and legalism abound. People who do not follow the rules or who threaten exposure are often dealt with harshly.

Excommunication is common. For those who leave, the road back to normalcy is difficult, with seemingly few who understand the phenomena of spiritual abuse.

Continue reading

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.”

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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



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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.

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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:

New Blog Series: Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery by Pastor Ken Garrett

Spiritual Abuse, Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse in the church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery


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As I was reading through Ken Garrett’s dissertation, I had to stop and soak up what I had just read. It took time to process and I felt like if I continued reading, I might miss something. It made me want to reflect on how his words matched my spiritually abusive experience.  Mind you, Ken and I have spent hours talking/texting about spiritual abuse, how it has affected us and others. So, his words were nothing new to me, but they made me stop and think. We both have a heart to take what we have learned to help others. It dawned on me that Ken’s dissertation might be great for a series here, so I asked him if this was something we could do here at SSB, and he graciously agreed. (I knew he would because that’s the Ken that I know.)

Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery

Pastor Ken Garrett – Somewhere in Italy on vacation recently after submitting his dissertation: Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery, and earning his DMin.

So, my goal is to do a post once a week, using portions of Ken’s dissertation as the jumping off point. It was in reading blogs about spiritual abuse that I realized I was in a spiritually abusive church. Reading personal stories that mirrored my own story made me feel like I was not going crazy, that what I was experiencing was real, and it was harmful. Ken’s dissertation is perfect for this venue. He’s a spiritual abuse survivor, he’s studied spiritual abuse in an academic setting, and he’s also a pastor downtown Portland, Oregon.

If you know of someone who has been harmed in the church, please pass this post along. If you know of church leaders who could benefit from learning about spiritual abuse from someone who has done academic research and is a pastor, this might be good for them as well.

Spiritual abuse like other forms of abuse doesn’t just go away. It becomes part of who we are. Does it mean that we have to abandon our faith? No! But it might look different than it was. And we will discover that that is okay.

The goal of this series is to interact, to learn from each other, to support each other. We’re going to start off with the Prologue from the dissertation. If you want to read ahead, feel free to do so. You can find Ken’s dissertation here.

~Julie Anne


PROLOGUE: A HOUSE OF MIRRORS

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John Piper Responds to Dad’s Question Regarding His Child’s Extreme Anxiety about Hell

John Piper, Christian Parenting, Glorious, Hell, Anxiety


john piper, fear, hell, children, spiritual abuse

Photo from Twitter

At John Piper’s Desiring God website, they feature Ask John series in which listeners send their questions to John Piper for response. The following question came from a dad named Michael who asked John Piper the following:

A question from Michael:

“Pastor John, how can I talk to my 6-year-old son about hell? When any loved one has died who has also been a Christian, I have told him they have gone to heaven. But if somebody dies who is not a Christian I do not want to lie and say they have gone to heaven, but I do not know how to teach him about hell. He has extreme anxiety about death and I am afraid talking about hell may make him more anxious. He also gets very upset when he makes any kind of mistake or when I have to correct him. I do not want him to worry that if he disobeys that he will be sent to hell. How in the world can I teach him this?” Continue reading

How Lori Alexander’s Teaching May Keep Women in Abusive Relationships

Lori Alexander, Emotional Abuse, Headship, Submission

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-by Kathi

I’ve been reading Lori Alexander’s blogs for quite a while now. Just when I think her writing is the same old boring rhetoric she always blathers on about, she ups her game. Her recent post, “How Not to Get Married” is one that actually should be titled, “Five Easy Steps to Ensure You Stay In an Abusive Relationship.” Continue reading

Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery

 

Spiritual Abuse, Recovery, Pastor Ken Garrett


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Pastor Ken Garrett and his beautiful wife, Sharon

 

Now this is a great story! Some long-time readers will probably remember how I met Pastor Ken Garrett, a good friend of mine and of SSB. After I got sued by my pastor in 2012, I received an email from another pastor in Portland. This guy was Pastor Ken Garrett. My suing church was Beaverton Grace Bible Church. Ken’s church: Portland Grace Bible Church. So similar!!!

My story was broadcast in the Portland news, nationwide, and internationally. Some people mistakenly thought Ken was my suing pastor. His blog site had an increase in hits and he received nasty phone calls condemning this man who sued mothers and their adult children. Poor Ken!

Ken sent me an e-mail to let me what had happened (after a good laugh), and then shared about his experience with spiritual abuse. We became fast friends and have met in Portland from time to time discussing the topic that has greatly impacted our lives, spiritual abuse.

When I first got to know Ken, he mentioned that he was going back to school for his doctorate. I’m thrilled to share that Ken has completed his doctorate. His dissertation is entitled: Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery.

This is a topic that has not received much press, but one which has affected many lives. I hope Ken’s work will benefit many, especially pastors, church leaders, therapists, and frankly anyone who wants to understand and support those in this kind of pain.

There is a link to Ken’s dissertation here. I hope Ken’s work gets distributed far and wide and is a great help to the church and the spiritual survivor community:  Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery.

Bravo, Ken!

Recovering from Spiritual Abuse and Discussion about The Shack

Spiritual Abuse, The Shack, Paul Young, Brenda Campbell, Spiritual Recovery

I’m happy to share a post from my friend, Brenda Campbell. Brenda is also a long-time friend here at SSB, and she has a tremendous heart for those who have been harmed and also those who are stuck spiritually. She has gone on her own journey, and like many of us, has explored ways of making Jesus alive again after being let down by leaders in the church. In Brenda’s post below, she shares how Paul Young’s The Shack helped her spiritually. In full disclosure, although I own the book, I have never read it entirely, only skimmed it with the intention of reading it.

You can be sure I have read and heard lots of criticisms about the book – that it is not doctrinally sound, that Paul Young is New Age, etc. There are a lot of spiritual bandwagons in Christendom. I don’t like to get drawn up into hype – either pro or con. But what I like to do (when I have the time) is to take a closer look. I like to read the original source, and then opinions from both sides, and see how it lines up scripturally. I then decide which complaints or criticisms have merit. In other words, I try not to be quick to come to conclusions, but evaluate based on my foundational beliefs, what I see in Scripture, etc. I take what passes my test, and throw out the rest.

This post is not a promotion of The Shack per se. I cannot promote it if I haven’t read it. But I can invite you to read Brenda’s words. She found the book helpful for her in her spiritual journey and thought it might benefit others who have been harmed by people in the church.  So, as with everything, read Brenda’s words, read the book, and see what you think. Is it really heretical as some claim, or is there something worthwhile, or even life-changing for you as you learn to look at God through different lenses? Let me know what you think!  ~Julie Anne Continue reading

Christian Blogger Invited to Speak at Free Thinkers’ Meeting about Abuse in Christian Churches

Free Thinker, Atheist, Christian Blogger, Thought Reform, Patriarchy, Spiritual Abuse, Cults




Last Sunday, I had the privilege of speaking at a Free Thinkers group. Privilege, some might ask? You bet. I will take any opportunity afforded to share the truth, set the record straight, and especially let people know that I, as a Christian, am displeased by the state of the Body of Christ when it comes to abuse and our response to abuse.

I feel I have a connection with many atheists. You see, when my defamation lawsuit went viral, I received over 500 emails of support. Many of those emails were sent by people who were harmed in the church, and then became atheist. This was originally a surprise to me, and  it saddened me. So many of these folks get spiritual abuse. They see the dysfunction and hypocrisy of celebrity pastors and leaders. Many of them are upset by what they see, and rightly so. If only those within the Body of Christ would get worked up about it!

It all started when I was in my Environmental Science class at school. Continue reading