For some, the ramifications of following the teachings of an influential spiritual leader (or cult leader) can be lifelong. As difficult as this next personal story is to read, it is the reality for some, and that is why I will continue to post stories like this.
Part of being an advocate for those who have been abused is never forgetting the reality that they face. It is believing them and standing with them, even when it is ugly and uncomfortable. We may not be able to walk in their shoes, but we can come alongside them and let them know that we are here for them.
We’ve heard from Dash (pseudonym) before and how the teachings of Bill Gothard influenced his parents and the way they “disciplined.” The other day, Dash sent me a note sharing his thoughts and struggles, and it made me angry and sad. Dash is still suffering physically and emotionally from the abuse and trauma he faced as a child.
While Gothard may not have specifically taught parents to “discipline” their children as Dash’s parents did, his teachings laid the groundwork for “sparing the rod.” For Dash’s parents, the sparing-the-rod teachings gave them a license to beat and abuse, all for the sake of children demonstrating godliness and good character. Basically, it was whipping children into submission so that they cheerfully and robotically complied with every command. Continue reading →
Special note: I am in Chicago until 11/5 and would love to get together with survivors or those interested in helping survivors. If you would like to meet up, please contact me and let’s see if we can arrange a gathering. email@example.com ~Julie Anne
Today, we are going to read a brief personal story from Andrew. Andrew shares with us the harm his family faced and is still facing after being in a high-controlling, abusive church for 15 years.
There are a number of thoughts that struck me when reading his words.
First, Andrew seems to have a good understanding of what he and his family endured, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes this process can take years.
Secondly, he is not minimizing or trying to move past the current emotional and mental state of his family. It appears that he is appropriately addressing each conflict or bump in the road right now. Many times when people are in a spiritually abusive church, they want to move on so quickly (understandably), that they forget to take care of themselves and get their wounds healed.
Thirdly, Andrew is aware that this healing process is a journey. He’s taking a realistic look at where he’s been, what is happening now, and the work ahead, and knows there is no quick fix.
I believe there is a recovery process to get to wholeness after spiritual abuse. Process is the key word. It doesn’t work well to close the door to spiritual abuse and act like it never existed. It did exist and it did have an impact on lives. If we are quick to put it behind us without doing the necessary recovery work, we are likely to fall into similar traps. When we go through recovery, we gain knowledge, understanding, have a new fresh perspective on who God is and how He relates with us, and we learn to forgive ourselves. ~ja Continue reading →
“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” ― David Augsburger
The other day, a spiritual abuse survivor and friend I met last year in Moscow, Idaho, posted the following quote by Dr. Diane Langberg on her Facebook wall. Please read it slowly and carefully. Knowing and understanding this could be the very gift you use to help propel a survivor in a positive direction towards healing. Continue reading →
Articles continue to be written about fallen pastor and Christian ministry leader and pastor, Doug Phillips, who resigned from the non-profit arm of Vision Forum Ministries and from his public speaking engagements. But what is next? What does repentance and restoration look like? Can or should he assume his former positions again?