Friday, August 28, 2009

A Spiritual Abuse Testimony

A couple months ago I published the testimony of “Jennifer” in the News & Views. I had heard from Jennifer months before about her struggle to find peace with her past experience of spiritual abuse. I sent her five copies of my Spiritual Abuse Recovery workbook and suggested she write down her story as a form of therapy in her spiritual and emotional recovery.

The workbook is set up with thought provoking questions to facilitate reflection. Later Jennifer sent me her story in print. With her permission I published it in our newsletter. If you want a copy email me at the address on this blog site and I will send it to you.

What I find repeatedly in cases of spiritual abuse is the gradual twisting of one’s perspective on reality. It is seldom a sudden change. Some basic assumptions about the group, its leader, or worldview usually precede the twisting of one’s thinking. To illustrate I have clipped several paragraphs from Jennifer’s testimony and pasted them below.

At this point the leader of this cult told me to quit my job, sell everything I owned, put my house up for sale and leave everyone behind. I was to ex-communicate myself from everyone who was not involved in the cult. He used scripture to back up everything he told me to do – such as “let the dead bury their dead” “ anyone who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of me” etc,…

So I sold everything I had, clothes and all, put my house up for sale, moved to another town and quit my job.

I know as you are reading this you might think how could I have not seen the red flags but all I can tell you was that it was so subtle so gradual and he used the Word to back up everything he did and because I was a baby in the Word I could not discern the half truths. Not to mention the fact that he told us if we left we would go to hell.

Now watch Jennifer tell her story as broadcast on CBN's The 700 Club.

This video illustrates the nature of spiritual abuse. It is a problem in our society that goes far beyond the cults which are by nature legalistic and controlling. Anywhere you have people in a religious setting this kind of abuse can happen. Knowing the way it manifests itself is your first defense against it. In the next issue of the News & Views I will be discussing the characteristics of abusive religion. These characteristics are listed on the back cover of the Spiritual Abuse Recovery workbook. In the next newsletter I describe one of those characteristics. It is that they,...

Provide No Accountability For Leaders

This commonly occurs as a “cult of personality” where the leader allows his adoring followers to elevate him to a pedestal where it is considered rude to question him. Some groups have their leader on such a pedestal as a matter of doctrine, i.e., a prophet of God, or the above described “chain of command”. In either case the leader can impose his will with little resistance because it is considered as coming from God. Frequently he will surround himself with a Board of “Yes men” who will provide him cover from genuine accountability.

If you wish to receive my newsletter you can click on my email address in the upper left of this blog. The subscription is free.

You can also obtain a copy of the Spiritual Abuse Recovery workbook. Send $20 to Watchman Fellowship, PO Box 7681, Columbus, GA 31908 with a written request for the workbook and I will send it to you. I will also send you Jennifer's testimony as printed in the News & Views.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Mormon Absurdity?

Mormons believe we all existed before this life as ‘spirit children’ of a heavenly father and one of his goddess wives. In Mormon doctrine they expect to progress on to one of the three levels of heaven, for Mormons that is the highest level, the Celestial Kingdom, after this earthly life. But between the pre-existence as ‘spirit children’ and the afterlife comes being born into ‘mortality’ or this earthly existence.

Mormons believe all of humanity pre-existed this life on earth. At this point you are probably wondering why you don’t remember it. Orson Pratt can explain it.

Orson Pratt was one of the original Mormon Twelve Apostles ordained by Joseph Smith in 1835. Though he apostatized in 1842 he was re-baptized in 1843 and reinstated to the Council of the Twelve Apostles. He died in 1881. He made the following Statement that has not been changed in Mormon understanding since 1854.

“When Jesus was born into our world, his previous knowledge was taken from him; this was occasioned by His spiritual body being compressed into a smaller volume than it originally occupied, … when this spirit was compressed, so as to be wholly enclosed in an infant tabernacle, it had a tendency to suspend memory; …So it is with man. When he enters a body of flesh, his spirit is so compressed and contracted in infancy that he forgets his former existence…” (The Seer, February 1853, 1854, p. 21).

When you are in the business of inventing a religion absurdities such as the above will inevitably occur.