Understanding the Complex Web of Abuse, Control, and Theology in Religious Institutions

It all came as a package.

The abuse. 
The control. 
The theology. 
The denomination. 
The church.

it'll kill you cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

A woman leaves a church. The pastor says, "Just a warning: we've so conditioned you that if you leave it will absolutely KILL you!"

Some said it was just the abuse so find it without the abuse. 
Some said I just needed to find it without a controlling leader. 
Some said it was just the theology so find a church with better theology. 
Some said it was with the denomination so find a better one. 
Some said it was the church, there’s a better one out there.

I tried and couldn’t find them. Because they come as a package. 

I was never in a cult. But I was in cultish groups. 

There are groups that use cultish techniques: control, shame, guilt, mind-games, brain-washing, overcommitment, intense intimacy. What makes a cult is when it’s criminal, like involuntary confinement, kidnapping, violence, sexual assault, rape, and extortion to control its members.

The commonality is the cult-survivor’s grief. They miss the intensity of intimacy they shared. I understood because that’s what Lisa and I missed too.

But now I don’t want it back. Want to know why? 

Because it was a part of the package. Those intense feelings come in a symbiotic relationship with the style of leadership and the content of their teaching. It was a package. 

The whole thing was designed to control me. The only way to get free was to escape.

What’s important, even more than community, is your spiritual independence and freedom. Then figure out how to be in a community. If a community violates your spiritual independence, leave.

You must be free. 
I must be free. 
Together in healthy ways.


Resources on Spiritual Abuse

Here are a list of other blog posts I've written on Spiritual Abuse. 

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