. . we can't change the culture of an abusive church, because while an abusive leader is in power, there is a system of abuse involved. We cannot change an abusive system. But what we survivors can do is provide a safe place where personal stories are told, heard, believed.
So, then the question I'm learning to ask myself is: what pain am I avoiding, and why am I avoiding it? Isn’t numbing pain simply prolonging it? Why would I want to prolong pain? What would happen if I moved toward the pain and wrestled with it? What would that look like?
I can't imagine the level of psychological trauma, pain & horror as Joshua (and Shannon) began to discover a lot of their framework for their life was built on religion & false fears & manipulated, pseudo acts of "love."
But it makes me once again question those ideologies that led up to this point. It makes me think about spiritual abuse. It makes me think about Patriarchy. What significant changes were made in their journey? What ideologies did each one keep, and each one ditch?
But what I missed in listening to the stories is that sometimes those stories resonated personally for me. Sometimes after listening to or reading someone's personal story, their story elicited a personal response for me. It reminded me of my own journey. My own unfinished business.
The spiritual abuse I experienced will only be a blip in my life's story, and it doesn't define who I am, just as Notre Dame's 2019 fire does not define it. Abuse is part of my story and has shaped me, and has produced life-changing fruit.
Spiritual Abuse, What Not to Say, Jonathan Hollingsworth, Reconciliation This is the second blog post referring to an article by Jonathan Hollingsworth, What Not to Say to Someone Who’s Been Hurt by the Church. The article resonated with a lot of people, so I thought it might be a good idea to discuss these unhelpful statements… Continue reading Spiritual Abuse: When People Ask You, “Are You Working Toward Reconciliation?”
This story is not over yet, but I figure I better check in before people start wondering what's happening with me. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have read about my pastor and church. It's a long story, and one I hope to tell one day, but for now, I am grieving… Continue reading Another Sad Church Story
Spiritual abuse, sex abuse, patriarchy, domestic violence, Sovereign Grace, Desiring God, CJ Mahaney, John Piper, Mental Health *** *** Part of recovery from abusive churches is coming to grips with what you were taught and how it affected you. Sometimes, and very appropriately, the ability to see this clearly results in anger. Jennifer Michelle posted… Continue reading Personal Story: What Did the Church Teach You about Yourself?
Bill Gothard, sex abuse, cults, lawsuit, Emily Jaeger, freedom, IBLP *** A note of introduction from Julie Anne: Emily Jaeger is one of the sexual abuse survivors and plaintiffs in the Bill Gothard/IBLP sex abuse lawsuit. Her official statement about the lawsuit was posted on Spiritual Sounding Board a few days ago. Then someone close… Continue reading Survivor Emily Jaeger Responds to Bill Gothard’s Reactions to Her Revealing She is “Jane Doe III”
David and Louise Turpin, Homeschool, Cult, Abuse, Torture *** Most likely you have heard the news about the large homeschooling family, the Turpins, from California. The parents, David, 57, and Louise, 49, Turpin who were arrested for torture and child endangerment, with bail set at $9 million each. Here are some of the key facts:… Continue reading The David and Louise Turpin Family Homeschool Cult
Spiritual Abuse, PTSD, Recovery, Beaverton Grace Bible Church, Chuck O'Neal *** When someone deals with spiritual abuse, it can have lasting consequences. One popular response is making the decision to no longer go an institutional church. I get that. I'm pretty sure I relayed the story either in a post, or in comments, that one… Continue reading Spiritual Abuse, PTSD, and the Aftermath
When you are weary, how do you find rest?
Dr. Dan Allender, Trauma, Music, Spiritual Abuse Recovery, Personal Stories *** Those who have been reading here for a while know how important I believe it is for survivors to tell their abuse stories. It took a while for us to believe the lies our church leader(s) told us about who we are and who… Continue reading Dr. Dan Allender: Trauma, Our Personal Stories, and Recovery through Music
*** Some may recall the story of Titus and Kari Benton who were in a defamation lawsuit by their former pastor, Steve Wingfield, of First Christian Church of Florissant. The case was later dismissed, but when you are sued by your former employer and pastor, your long-term church home, and experience spiritual abuse, it takes… Continue reading Kari Benton Shares: Spiritual Recovery after a Lawsuit and Spiritual Abuse
"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."
Spiritual Abuse, Recovery, Pastor Ken Garrett 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… Continue reading Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery
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… Continue reading Recovering from Spiritual Abuse and Discussion about The Shack
Bill Gothard, IBLP, Child Abuse, Discipline *** 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… Continue reading Victim of Bill Gothard’s Teachings Shares Emotional Aftermath
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… Continue reading Christian Blogger Invited to Speak at Free Thinkers’ Meeting about Abuse in Christian Churches