How to help a family member or friend leave a high-controlling church group or cult: spiritual abuse, trapped, thought reform, mind control, freedom
“Mind control is the process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or distort perception, motivation, affect, cognition and/or behavioral outcomes. It is neither magical nor mystical, but a process that involves a set of basic social psychological principles. Conformity, compliance, persuasion, dissonance, reactance, guilt and fear arousal, modeling and identification are some of the staple social influence ingredients well studied in psychological experiments and field studies. In some combinations, they create a powerful crucible of extreme mental and behavioral manipulation when synthesized with several other real-world factors, such as charismatic, authoritarian leaders, dominant ideologies, social isolation, physical debilitation, induced phobias, and extreme threats or promised rewards that are typically deceptively orchestrated, over an extended time period in settings where they are applied intensively.”
― Steven Hassan, Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-Selling Guide to Protection, Rescue and Recovery from Destructive Cults
I’ve heard it said that losing a child to death can be a parent’s worst nightmare. Now imagine having lost your adult child and their family, not to death, but to a high-controlling church or cult. Imagine not being able to celebrate birthdays or major holidays together. Imagine having only limited contact with your adult child and their family. How could your loved one entirely dismiss you, act like you are a stranger or enemy when you did nothing to them? Continue reading →
On Thursday, Pastor David McGee of The Bridge Fellowship in Kernersville, North Carolina, posted a comment on his Facebook account publicly naming and “disfollowshipping” four church members. I repeat – this was done PUBLICLY on Facebook, not in the context of a church meeting among church members.
David continued with his comment by quoting about 30 – thirty, not 3, verses justifying his actions. Some of the verses were quoted in different translations and guess which verse was included? Of course Hebrews 13:17 (“Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account.”), but take a look at the last verse quoted. Why do you supposed he ended with this verse?
Remember your leaders who first taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do. NLT
I like to dig a little bit when I read words. Do you see the contradiction in the following two comments by Pastor McGee? Take special note of the tithing references. The 2nd comment was posted 16 hours after the first comment.
There were other comments claiming this was not really about tithing, but if it wasn’t about tithing, then why is it mentioned at all?
Here you can see some pushback and then a member defends her pastor. I noticed the word “covenant” in this comment, but did not see a membership covenant at the church website.
When people publicly speak out against a pastor, they are frequently labeled as the enemy.The pastor is on the right side and anyone who questions him, is labeled as divisive, disobedient to God and His Word:
Of course we do not know all of the details of this case and can only make conclusions based on what we see publicly. But what I see publicly is troubling.
I have heard of stories where church members have been abusive to pastors. We often talk only about abusive leaders, but that is not always the case. Even if members are abusive, we need to ask how does a shepherd appropriately handle members who are divisive? If Pastor McGee is correct in saying that these folks have been divisive, how should a pastor respond? Do you see godly fruit in the behavior?
Peter Bradrick, former intern, former Executive Assistant to the President at Vision Forum Shares Publicly That He is “Disowned” and Declared as “Destroyer” by Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Continue reading →
In a concerted attempt to control others, someone from Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC) filed official complaint with YouTube against blogger Paul Dohse’s YouTube account, resulting in blogger’s loss of YouTube privileges. Continue reading →
*** Last week I posted a letter from Dave Corning who was a long-time elder at Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC), under Pastor James MacDonald. I mentioned that Corning’s letter would be my go-to letter for describing spiritual abuse because it described some of the most common tactics spiritual abusers use. Continue reading →
I have never, ever connected so deeply with someone else’s spiritual experience as I have recently with reader, Oasis. The tears . . . . oh, the tears. This deep, gut-wrenching, sobbing pain is so real for some of us. I cannot believe I am doing this, but I’m feeling that right now I need to try to clearly articulate my feelings about Father God and how He relates with the abuse some of us have incurred. Continue reading →