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 →
*** 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 →
One big dilemma in spiritually abusive churches is deciding if and when to leave the church. Does God want people to leave a spiritually abusive church? Can God work through people left in an abusive church? Is there a Biblical precedent for this kind of situation? What does God’s Word say?
If you’ve been following the Elephant Room 2 spectacle with Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel, you know there has been some shakeup within the elder ranks. More drama recently unfolded. Below, you will find the link to the video of MacDonald and four of the elders from Harvest Bible Chapel issue statements on behalf of all of the church elders and publicly excommunicate two former elders. It’s pretty brutal.
But first . . . . . check out this excommunication scene from the movie, Becket with Richard Burton. Maybe you can compare notes from the two videos. Continue reading →