10 ways abusive churches turn their people into the sinners they hate

"Stiffnecked Sheep" (cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward)

“Stiffnecked Sheep” (cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward)

I want to make it clear from the beginning that victims of abuse responding to it are not necessarily sinners, but are actually justified in defending themselves. The word “sinners” suggests that the church considers their people sinners because they are not behaving the way they want them to. They are not sinners really, but in the eyes of domineering leadership they are.

So here’s how abusive churches and pastors make sinners out of us:

  1. resisting being controlled is interpreted as stubbornness
  2. questioning a leader’s actions is interpreted as rebellious
  3. doing other than exactly what you’re told is interpreted as disobedience
  4. questioning authority is interpreted as not submitting to authority
  5. stronger offense creates stronger defense that is interpreted as obstinacy
  6. talking about your questions with others is interpreted as divisive and seditious
  7. knowing a leader is human with weaknesses is interpreted as disrespectful
  8. when you decide the church is not healthy and leave is interpreted as unfaithful
  9. thinking for yourself is considered maverick
  10. trying to learn how to live your own life is considered immature and unruly

Come join us at The Lasting Supper where we talk about this stuff all the time and learn how to move on. I welcome you.

Read The Liberation of Sophia… our story of how we used to be trapped in this, escaped, and now enjoy our independence!


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6 Responses

  1. kris799 says:

    Ohhhhh that is a really good list. You should compile your comics along with your comments on church abuse and write abook.

  2. David says:

    oh now there’s an idea!

  3. Melody says:

    Your posts on abuse are very enlightning and disconcerting too as I recognize far more than I should like…. It helps in deconstructing all these false ideas that are still in my head, although their power is fading more and more. Your blog definitely helps with that! 🙂

  4. David says:

    Thanks Melody! I’m glad I can help.

  5. rebecca says:

    Hey David,
    I am a long time ‘stopper-by’ of your site. Your thoughts challenge me–in a good way.

    I recently watched a 4 part interview of a man’s experience with same sex attraction within the Mormon church that was very moving to me, and I thought that it might interest you according to the topics that you broach on your blog.

    I would have just emailed you, but I couldn’t figure out where to send it.


  6. David says:

    I know this interview rebecca. thanks!