Written exclusively for my blog readers, Spiritual Abuse: A Victim’s Guide to Recovery is now available for your Kindle.
About the eBook:
Spiritual abuse is happening in increasing numbers around the world. As Christian fundamentalism grows, so do the numbers of psychological and “spiritual” abuse victims. Spiritual abuse is becoming a common term for those harmed in churches and cults. Lisa Kerr is an ex-cult member and former reverend with the Assemblies of God who worked with a group called Master’s Commission for nearly a decade. Today, she advocates for ex-cult members and those who’ve experienced spiritual and psychological abuse in the hands of clergy.
If you enjoy the book, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.
Table of Contents
How Does Religion Differ From A Cult?
What Is Christian Fundamentalism?
Spiritual Abuse Is Abuse
What Can Be Done?
Don’t Approach the Abuser
Who Can Help?
Licensed Psychologists and Medical Doctors
The Internal Revenue Service
Trauma and Mental Disorders
The Five Stages of Grief
Going Public With Your Story
Protecting Yourself Online
Excuses Cult Leaders Use
I’m Not a Christian Anymore
Are Pastors our Advocates?
How to Get Your Child Out
How to Get Out Of a Destructive Group or Cult
Parents and Friends
Mental Health Resources Online
Books on Forgiveness, Human Suffering, and Genocide
Books on Progressive Christianity
About the Author
Read an Excerpt:
Spiritual Abuse Is Abuse
I went on a job interview recently and my blog ended up being the subject of the latter half of the interview. When my interviewer asked what I blogged about, the easiest answer I could find was “Spiritual Abuse” which is the standard term we bloggers use to group together those who’ve left cults and those who’ve suffered from controlling and manipulative pastors.
The man interviewing me asked what that meant and in an attempt to explain it, I listed some of what has happened to me and others I know.
He said, “Oh, real abuse.”
Lesson learned. Regardless of someone’s religious beliefs, “spiritual abuse” doesn’t mean a whole lot to someone who isn’t an insider in our community. Not only that, spiritual is a vague term that is not specific to one religious community.
What I took from my job interview was this: abuse is abuse. Whether one was raped, verbally abused, humiliated in front of a group, etc. these are defined as abuse. The numbers of abuse victims (sexual, physical and emotional) within church and religious settings are ever present and growing, with the blogosphere opening up communities where victims can discuss their abuse and recovery. The all-powerful hierarchy has attempted to silence victims for years.
In context of my own experience, it helps for me to define the abuse I encountered as psychological and emotional abuse. Almost as soon as I left the group I label cult, I entered a public university where I was able to receive professional therapy to identify the abuse I went through.
Abuse can be broken up into a few different categories: sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, bullying, and hate crimes. Unfortunately, all of these types of abuse can be found in religious and secular institutions; most institutions that have policies for mandatory reporting. Churches do not.
Why is it important to speak up about spiritual abuse? Andrew Brown, who blogs for The Guardian, says:
“…I believe that all institutions attempt to cover up institutional wrongdoing although the Roman Catholic church has had a higher opinion of itself than most, and thus a greater tendency to lie about these things. Because it is an extremely authoritarian institution at least within the hierarchy, it is also one where there were few checks and balances on the misbehaviour of the powerful.”
The problem lies there: most churches have few checks and balances on the powerful leaders who do everything in their power to protect their authority in order to rule the group. When church members trust their leader to that degree, any scandal involving their leader will threaten their belief system. Most faithful followers won’t even listen to the victim’s story because they fear they’ll lose the thing in their life that’s most sure—their beliefs.