Monday, July 30, 2012

Discovery Process - The Jigsaw Puzzle

Our brains are fascinating.  Without fail, every single time I listen to this song below, I am taken back to a specific time in my life.   It was 1987 and my husband was at Officer Candidate School with the Navy in Newport, Rhode Island.  We were separated for four months while he went to this officer's training school.  When he left, our firstborn (Hannah) was only 6 months old.   When she was 10 months old, I took her on a plane trip across the country to attend his graduation.  This particular song was popular and was played on the radio frequently.  It was an exciting time.  Our new life in the military was just about to begin.  Our marriage was young and my husband and I had been separated for four months and now we were together again.  It was a sweet reunion and special time together.  It still gives me chills when I hear this song even though the events happened 24 years ago.

It's amazing how our brain connects emotionally with events.

While sometimes our brain can remember every detail of events from long ago, sometimes our brain "forgets" important details.   That can be good, too.  Think of how beneficial that would be to someone who suffered an immense amount of abuse.  It might be too overwhelming emotionally.  I'm reminded of Jaycee Dugard who at the age of 11 years old was kidnapped and held captive for nearly 2 decades.   She had two children fathered by her captor.  Can you wrap your head around that?  She was later discovered and is now free and her captors are behind bars.  Thank God!  She and her children are living with her biological mother/grandmother enjoying her new life of freedom and getting reacquainted with her siblings and extended family.

Most likely Jaycee is going through a process of discovery of what really happened to her.  Of course she knows she was kidnapped and that her captor is the father of her children, but slowly, Jaycee is coming to grips of what this horrific crime did to her, what it stole from her and her children.  She lost her family, a normal life of going to school, being with friends, relationships with her siblings, parents, extended family, etc.  As she is in a healthy environment, surrounded by loved ones, her story will become more clear to her, she will be in a safe place to heal, the full story will come to realization.

This discovery process is occurring with many of us.   It's kind of like we are each putting together a big 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.  When I started this process 3+ yrs ago, I may have gotten the border of the puzzle put together, but as time goes on, I am adding piece by piece.  One day, it will be complete and I will have understanding.  Interestingly, even last week I was coming to grips with another aspect that the abuse has had on my family that I hadn't considered before!   It's crazy!   

It only confirms to me that our brain will only allow us to absorb a certain amount of pain and releases more info as we can handle it or we are reminded (by memories, people retelling their stories, songs, events, etc).   I can see how certain questions have been cleared up in my mind.

There is a group of people who left the church over 8 months ago.   They are likely to be going through this process of discovery.  They are realizing what it feels like to be shunned now and probably have a new sense of compassion for those whom they were previously shunning.  I know some are reaching out to those they once shunned and apologizing and restoring those relationships.  That is beautiful.  But there is also sadness and anger.  They are coming to grips with the years that were wasted under bad teaching, relationships that were destroyed, wondering about the effects on their children, wondering where they would be if they never had this experience.  This stuff is deep and gets heady!

In this process of discovery, we do not always have the same level of understanding as others.   We might understand some aspects of what happened, but be blinded to others.  Some of us are dealing with friends or family who don't quite see the situation the way we do.  They may minimize events or justify things they saw.  This can make it confusing, too.

At one point a friend was labeling the pastor as a "wolf" or "abusive" or "legalistic".  I thought this person was just too emotional and perhaps worked up.  As time went by, things became more clear to me,  and I, too, came to the same realizations and now fully believe we were dealing with someone who is a spiritual wolf, who used his authority inappropriately in ways I find abusive.  It was interesting to see how my perspective changed over time.

God will reveal things to us in His timing in our discovery process.  The truth will be revealed.   The pieces of the puzzle will be put in place.  Give grace to one another - we are not all at the same place.   Try not to get frustrated if someone isn't seeing things differently than you.  They may be working on a different spot on their puzzle.  It will eventually come together.


  1. And some seem to be holding the puzzle pieces and not knowing how to put them together.

    Some comments left on your blog and other blogs accuse you, Julie Anne, of stalking your former pastor. (In line with the theme of your previous post, please cue the score from Mission: Impossible.) Stalking him. Stalking him for 4 years. Wow!

    It made me think about what stalking means. So, Julie Anne, I have some questions. I hope you will indulge me by providing brief answers.

    * When you had an issue with Chuck O'Neal, did you go to him privately?
    * Did Chuck O'Neal ever come to you privately?

    * When you got nowhere with the pastor, did you ask others (elders) to intervene?
    * Did Chuck O'Neal ever ask others to help intervene with you?

    * Have you ever shown up at Chuck O'Neal's house with a recording device?
    * Has Chuck O'Neal ever shown up at your house with a recording device?

    * Have you left frequent comments on Chuck O'Neal's blog? Have you asked your supporters to leave frequent comments on his blog?
    * Has Chuck O'Neal left frequent comments on your blog? Have others left frequent comments on your blog at his request?

    * Because Chuck O'Neal does not say things you agree with, have you pursued him in court to stop him from expressing his viewpoints?
    * Has he pursued you in court?
    * Has he pursued others who left comments on your blog, indicating that he's monitoring everything you and others write?

    If you have time to provide answers, Julie Anne, perhaps we can find out just who is stalking whom.

    1. I don't recall going to him privately (we sent e-mail, phone call, voice mail to talk with him, but he didn't return the messages). We met with the pastor and elders while we were still at the church. He never came to us privately for anything. We were never in any kind of trouble or church discipline.

      The elders said they had no reason to go to him for any issues.
      He never came to us with issues he had with us - ever. The elders did not either.

      I've never recorded anyone's private conversation, period.
      Yes, he and his elders recorded a conversation at our house. Not only that, it was played for at least one other church member. His wife mentioned in her court declaration that she heard the recording. He never asked permission to allow his wife or anyone to listen to it. He also did not give us the copy of the recording as we requested (and he said he would).

      If you're talking about his blog on Sermon Audio, I don't think I have left any comments there. I have left comments about the lawsuit on Sermon Audio, but those are not part of his blog. I've never asked supporters to leave comments anywhere. It is not my business where my readers leave comments.

      I don't know if my former pastor has left comments on my blog or if others from the church have left comments here. I have no way of knowing if he requested that they leave comments or not.

      I've never pursued anyone in court for anything. He has pursued me in court and also pursued others who have left comments.

    2. I have to ask, "Why is SQ posing all these questions?" The matter has already been thoroughly discussed. The matter already went before the Fun Judge. Is SQ trying to make himself/herself the judge in this case? I personally would ignore SQ.

    3. SQ answered why she's asking the questions in the 2nd paragraph. She's leveling the playing field with regard to who is stalking whom.

    4. Bob, I wasn't trying to put Julie Anne on trial. My questions were intended to demonstrate to those blinded people who continue to accuse Julie Anne of stalking her former pastor that the opposite is true.

  2. I really like the analogy of the jigsaw puzzle in this article, I think it's an excellent one.

  3. And I’m too sexy for your party
    too sexy for your party,
    No way I’m dirty dancing!

  4. Yes, our brains are fascinating!

    This idea of being taken back in time with music, these portals to memories and emotions, is something that should be considered when we’re dealing with abuse. Some church music played out even years later in healthy-church-contexts can still flood us with hurtful feelings and sickening memories of abuse. That’s the power of music.

    1. After church split #1 (late 1970s), I literally wore out several sets of cassette tapes (yes, cassettes) of *Handel's Messiah."

      After church split #3 (25 years later), I lost track of how many times I listened to CDs of *Handel's Messiah* and the soundtrack to *Les Miserables.*

      To me, music and poetry are "liquid emotion." Note how many times as we "unthaw" from the shock and numbing of abuse, part of the response often includes emotional release. Others may interpret this as "emotional outbursts" and "overreactions," but hey, when the pipes have been blocked with lime and then finally there's a breakthrough ... there's, well, a *breakthrough*! Emotional responses are normal, but may very well be more intense than usual for us, and more uncomfortable for others.

      There's a difference between a so-called "overreaction" and a "strong reaction." Whose emotional state is the standard?

      And hyper-rationalists often subdue their emotions as untrustworthy, as if the mind is untouched by The Fall but the emotions got the brunt of the curse full force? Bad theology ... and very self-serving for those who are scared of emotion or prideful in their rational abilities.

      So, I'm an advocate of music, arts, writing (poetry, journaling, etc.) as ways of releasing emotion and finding healing. Lord willing, before the middle of August I'll be finishing and posting a set of articles on The Hunger Games trilogy. So far, I've found half a dozen artistic ways that the various Victors dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder by using art therapy. Fascinating .... And if nothing else, it's worth noting that almost all the main characters are victims of trauma to a greater or lesser degree.

    2. Great choices of music, Brad. One day I'd like to hear/read your spiritual abuse story if you'd like to share. I've read bits and pieces. I'm looking forward to reading your work. I know you've been working on it for a long time.

      There was some pretty intense praise and worship times at the campout last week - especially for me on Thursday and Friday after I got the news of the court case. Music clearly is a way that I can pray and connect with God. I'm so thankful for the gift of music - so, so thankful.

    3. brad, a couple of weeks ago I read and thoroughly appreciated what you wrote on the hunger games. I would have commented but the comments were set to ‘off.’ Will you be compiling the series into pdf? If so I want it.

      If we go the collective direction with a forum, I’m certain your hunger games thread would be very popular.

    4. brad, i think what i read from you led me to write the few thoughts i did here on the Frankfurt School theorists Adorno and Fromm.

      i actually have a first edition copy of Robert Jay Lifton's Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism

  5. Getting back to Steve Smith’s question: How can we help godly pastors feed and protect the sheep? How can we teach the sheep so that false teachers are exposed and outed?

    It will be by education, and by the telling of our stories, learning together how we are to discern and identify healthy as opposed to unhealthy pastors and churches.

    JA’s blog brought together a unique community of gifted and educated men and women. We are all ministers, even the wounded and spiritually abused among us. Here’s what I’m thinking:

    It’s been a little bit difficult to sustain certain conversations as they relate to spiritual abuse, spiritual authority, polity, dangerous movements within the church, and so forth, here in blog format. They seem to get buried and fizzle out. Is there a forum out there on spiritual abuse? And if not, would this community be willing to participate as members in a forum? The forum format is more conducive to sustaining conversations. Any updates get bumped to the front, etc. etc.

    Any thoughts?

    1. The first thought that comes to my mind is that pastors need to get it in their heads that they are sheep as well, needing fed. Who is feeding Pastor Chuck? My guess, Pastor chuck is eating sheep, rather than feeding them. Oh, but, he is eating crow right now. My bad. Some preachers like Pastor Chuck forget that they need fed as well, which leads to the conclusion that they probably think that they are already fed, and have no more room for food in the spiritual belly.

      Ed Chapman

    2. You could be right, Ed. That's a dangerous place for a pastor to be - thinking they have no need to be fed.

    3. "Is there a forum out there on spiritual abuse?"

      I have operated one since 2000. It is a closed forum, where only members may read and we use a bulletin board format. This affords a safe place to discuss without commentary from those who would like to attack or disrupt. It is not a debate group. While the majority of our members have had some form of Pentecostal background, we are by no means limited to that. See for further information.

      We have given away lots of material to members over the years and we sometimes have guests who only have access to their special forum. Right now we have as a guest, one of the actors from the movie Paradise Recovered, which is about spiritual abuse. (see )

    4. Hi Lois,

      Outstanding Site!

      Forum-wise, I was unable to access and check it out. I'd have to register first and fully answer a questionnaire before being considered. Though I’m presently locked out from reading anything on the forum I’m very certain you host a needed, edifying, safe support group. On the board, How often does your community interact? Are there any men that participate?

      Forum-wise, I was thinking of something a little different, and open to the eyes of the world. An open forum where members can post anything they want in the general forum. For example: If there’s any other righteous beer lovers out there, I’d enjoy a discussion on Belgian double and quad style beers. I’d probably draw our attention to J-Mac’s thinking on “booze.” I think he’s calling me out as a sinner here for “bedeck[ing my] reputation with deliberate symbols of debauchery.” J-Mac asserts: “Real Christian liberty is not about flouting taboos and offending conventional notions of propriety.”

      My quick answer to him is that some fundies see women wearing pants (not to speak of two-piece bathing-suits) as offending their conventional notions of propriety. And although my self-controlled appreciation of good beer may be seen as flouting a taboo to some, it certainly isn’t a taboo in Scripture, only in a sick twisted church culture is it a sin.

      J’Mac takes a truth of Scripture and then twists it to suggest that my “consumption of beer” disqualifies me from being an elder in the church. He writes, “one of the main qualifications for both deacons and elders in the church is that they cannot be given to much wine. In other words, they are to be known for their sobriety, not for their consumption of beer.”

      But besides a general category of threads that any member can post for discussion, there would be quite specific categories such as a section on the UPCI that draws our attention to your ministry and support forum. I’d love to see a clearinghouse of writings and news and personal stories related to UPCI.

      And sections on Biblical Patriarchy, or Dominionism, or what-have-you. . A forum that is content and discussion heavy, a central ground open to everyone, leaders and everyone within the church wanting to be educated, or to find some understanding from a loving and gracious community of believers.

      I think it could only work as a collaborative project, members such as Lois, Barb, Jeannette, Julie Anne, Steve Scott, Brad, myself and others. Everyone I just named has valuable content to bring together into a clearinghouse community, however the Spirit directs us.

    5. Yes, monax, that is exactly what I've been thinking, too, definitely an open forum.

      Are you saying that you can't have an occasional beer and be an elder at Mac's church? Fred has been reading, maybe he will respond. I just had a sampling of lager at a store in Portland area last weekend (and it was good). I'm wondering if that sip would prevent me from heading up the nursery or singing on the praise team?

    6. Monax, for many people, an open forum where everyone in the world would be free to read would never receive the participation of many who have been hurt in abusive churches. Especially those who have recently exited. It may be a resourse for them, but they wouldn't participate.

      I have found over many years of doing this, that there are so many who are afraid- even in a private environment such as what I offer- to speak up and share. Some have very painful experiences that they would not want everyone online to access (rape, incest, infidelity, exorcisms attempted on them, etc.). And they would especially not want to post in an environment where they could be belittled or badgered by those who do not understand and/or who are participating only to dismiss and cast doubt on spiritual abuse. There is also the concern of family members and friends reading, and even of the former or current pastor or current members reading (as has been evidenced here and duly noted that the pastor of BGBC reads and has taken action against posters). As you saw, that stopped some from commenting here who may have otherwise.

      I would personally never consider making my support group open to anyone to read and/or write. While there could be a section available for open participation while keeping the rest private, I have not ventured into that area. There is a blog area where members are free to use the blog to reach those outside the support group, but they have never been heavily used.

      As to your questions, yes, we have men that participate. The number varies with time. It seems that standards draws many to join and as such that attracts more women due to the emphasis placed upon women in those teachings.

      The community interacts on a daily basis, but as with all forums, participation ebbs and flows.

      You said: "I’d love to see a clearinghouse of writings and news and personal stories related to UPCI." There is a lot on my main website that is open for anyone to read. There is an experience page with a number of writings (from more than just the UPC), there is an article page, pages on their beliefs (including some official documents), and much more. The site needs a huge overhaul and has for some time. I am limited in my knowledge and whenever I thought I have had someone who could help with an overhaul, it didn't come to pass. :)

      Those are my thoughts. I believe there is a place and a need for private and open forums. I will say that I don't have much taste for debate forums, which usually end up in personal insults and fighting. I also do not care for forums that will turn people away from Christianity or where people attempt to discredit the Bible. I watched one place head in that direction years ago and had to remove my support.

    7. Lois - someone invited me to a group on FB and although it was a spiritual abuse support group and provided great support for victims, I found the climate negative towards those who remained Christian or who made attempts to get back to church. That won't be happening here. I always want this to be a place of support to those who have been spiritually abused (whether they are Christian or not), but my goal is to reach out and show Christ's love and grace here.

    8. O Yes, Lois, I absolutely understand the need for a safe and healing place, this is why your private support forum is most essential.

      The spiritual abuse forum that I would want to co-moderate with qualified others would not at all tolerate any abusive or belittling speech. We would have to draft some guidelines, can’t assume everyone will have the same forum ethic. I trust I’ve personally demonstrated a worthy character here on ja’blog, and I’m ever open to having my pastoral and teaching approaches examined. As I have a heart for ministering to the wounded, I’m also an educator, and a fighter. I can see how many spiritually abused brothers and sisters would not find this open ground a safe environment. As moderators our aim would be to keep the forum safe, healthy and edifying. However, I’m ok with a little wolfblood spilling out onto the open ground, maybe a few spiked wolfheads, Yeah, I’m ok with that.

      But education, and informed conversation, that is what I hunger for. There’s a few men and women here that I would trust to help build up the forum into a thriving ministry.

    9. Julie Anne, there are all types of "support" groups out there. I came across one recently where the person running it had to have a phone call with you first and charged monthly on a sliding scale. That one was definitely for those who left Christianity as a result of their unhealthy church experience. That is such a difficult aspect of the issue because some cannot separate what happened to them from God and cannot see that the wrong teachings and attitudes instilled in them were not representative of what is in the Bible.

      What you describe that you want is what I have in place at my group. We welcome Christians and non-Christians, but make it clear that we are a Christian board and don't allow promotion of other religions.

      Should you go the route being discussed, you will need to consider investing money in a bulletin board type system, though there is at least one I know of that is free. That would also incur obtaining a domain name and a hosting site, both additional expenses. There is at least one place that lets you set up on theirs for free, but you put up with their ads unless you contribute money to remove them and you are always at their mercy. Should they fold, so does your board. You would also need to learn how to set it up and operate it (it isn't that difficult) and keep it up-to-date with the latest version, or at least the latest security patches.

      I would move slowly in that direction, if you are sure it is what you desire as there is much to consider. You will lose people in any change as it comes with the territory. We did when we moved the support group from Yahoo Groups to a bulletin board system on my domain. People have their preferences in how they like to communicate. Some want email, some want a board system, some want blogs and some will bend, lol. You will also most likely lose some people once things with the lawsuit have blown over and there is no more media coverage. Right now you have been riding the wave of that publicity and have as many participants as you do as a result of that (and a very diverse group at that).

      While you can definietly reach people on a blog, a discussion board type setting is a much better fit for a support group than a blog, in my opinion.

    10. I don't see this as an either/or but a both/and situation. Julie Anne keeps blogging away and I'm planning on staying with her. I also just launched a personal blog in the hopes of engaging some issues in Pittsburgh. But I would love to participate with others in a forum. I'd go wherever everybody from here would want to congregate. I'd even be willing to host the forum and take care of all the technical and money concerns. I wouldn't want the spirit to be any different than what we have here. I wasn't even thinking that Julie Anne would host the forum, but I'd love if she would. I was thinking a forum would also help bring the various blogs together, like a flotilla of boats tied together out on the big lake.

    11. OK, Monax, I think I better understand now. Thanks for your patience- I am going in a bunch of directions right now, LOL. I guess I got it in my head that Julie Anne was talking about doing that as opposed to her blog. Doing both could take a lot of work, but if several people are working on the new forum, then it might not be bad. I'd be interested in looking into your idea further.

      The one thing I don't like about using someone else's site (such as BuddyPress), is that you lose some control and should something happen to them or they feel you use too much bandwidth, you could be temporarily shut down, permanently shut down, and/or lose material you worked long and hard on. Having your own domain alleviates some of that. When I was on Yahoo Groups, they periodically had problems in losing posts, not forwarding all the posts to those that were set up to receive them, and sometimes being inaccessible. Though my support group has long since had its own home, I still belong to a couple groups there and more recently they did changes to the calendars and messed things up. So, because of past experience, I am leery about taking on a big project like this that you want to last for years and have some other company basically hold the reigns.

      Brad mentioned some past problems, so if you are feeling to maybe go the route of BuddyPress, I would first check the safeguards available for things like spam and unwanted posters. Those things can quickly discourage posters and ruin a forum.

      So, keep me posted please.

    12. Lois - For your info - I have no idea what I'm doing now - haha.

      I'm going to take my time before I do anything different. I'm still reeling from exhaustion of camp and 5 months of lawsuit :)

      I plan to continue with the blog. I've got to use up all of my draft posts at least and last I checked that was over 70 draft posts- yikes!

    13. :) Thanks, Julie Anne. I am glad you will be continuing with your blog.

      Unfortunately, you will never run out of material to write about on the subject. I've been at it since 1997, though not usually in blog form. And when you think you have heard just about everything, someone else will contact you with something that shatters that thought. :(

  6. Julie Anne may need some help to restructure the blog. Blogger does allow comments to appear by time posted rather than by thread, but it takes tinkering with the settings.

    1. What do you all think about this? Threaded or by time posted? I know how to change these settings. I was thinking it seems unorganized when it is by time posted. Thoughts?

    2. Time posted would mix up all the conversations together. Sometimes they are difficult to follow as it is. To me, threaded is the way to go.

    3. Julie Anne, personally I like the current set-up you have for comments. I wouldn't change anything.

  7. i mean for this proposed forum to be collaborative project, a collective where balm can be dispensed along with educated discussions. . a gathering ground that might point us to various ministries, blogs and so forth. .

  8. I don't know of any private forums on spiritual abuse (though there are private Facebook pages) or public forums (which require at least registration to keep spammers away). The topic of a forum has come up amongst several groups of survivors I know. Blogging formats typically aren't easy for this, though "An Attorney's" suggestion is helpful. Forums/Bulletin boards and online content management/project management systems are better, but some of the free or low-cost versions still require someone to administrate and moderate certain aspects.

    It's worth considering.

    Other train of thinking: There will always be a need for entry points as people begin figuring out their jigsaw puzzle. But there is also a need for archives where crowd-sourced materials reside, and also for people to take those "primary sources" and sift through and integrate the material. It is far more difficult to "solve the puzzle" when it's also a mega-scavenger hunt and there are so many blogs and posts dealing with spiritual abuse and healing, scattered all over the web.

    1. Brad, David, An Attorney, et al - I am very open to suggestions on how to make this place useful for those who have gone through spiritual abuse. It's a challenge, though, because people are at different stages in their healing process. I don't know the best way to facilitate this. If you have any ideas, please let me know. Publicly would probably be best as more eyes can see and we can have more input.

    2. Wow, I just noticed a bunch of typos in the above post. Please feel free to notify me of typos, too!

  9. Hmm... one of the things I have wanted to say to people who tell me I should "just get over it" and "move one" is:

    Would you please do me the courtesy of sitting down and listening to what exactly it is that you are telling me to 'just get over' before you dismiss it with a flippant phrase?

    1. Often, I think that the underlying (not even always conscious) motive for wanting us to 'just get over it and move on' is that our voices - our speaking out about what happened makes them uncomfortable with the things in their own lives they haven't looked at and faced.

      I know before I began the journey of real discovery, I was uncomfortable with those who were on it. They scared me, even though (then) I wasn't really sure why. Now, I understand my fear was rooted in the fact that I was living in a state of great cognitive dissonance that was in a fairly delicate state of balance. I had been since I was a toddler. On a level just below the surface, I knew there was a unholy mess under there and that scared the crap out of me. Anything that threatened to force me to look at that scared me and I didn't want to hear it.

      It took a perfect storm of sorts - flagrant sexual abuse in front of me by a pastor to a dear friend, the death of my grandfather (the last of his generation in my immediate family) which brought familial upheaval - nothing like the death of a patriarch to cause the buried emotions to surface - both of these then causing my own childhood memories to begin surfacing. Then the whole church thing blowing up - my friend thrown out, me walking away, the shunning, the isolation, the chaos....

      That all forced me to either face my own history or bury myself so deep in delusion I would probably have gone crazy.

      So I do understand their fear....but I also know that part of what helps widen the cracks in the faulty foundation of misinformation and deception is consistent, persistent voices speaking truth - speaking freedom.

    2. "...consistent, persistent voices speaking truth - speaking freedom."

      Yes, Jeannette, Amen!

  10. Yes, monax, you have expressed some of the things that I have been thinking about recently!! Great minds think alike??!! Or are we being prompted by the same Holy Spirit?! I ran a few ideas past Julie Anne and Brad not too long ago as well as a few others keen on this topic.

    I see the wealth of knowledge among God's people. First, So often people haven't been able to express themselves in their former church settings. Furthermore, so many people have experienced spiritual abuse and have recovered from it. They have learned through the school of hard knocks, but with the help of the Holy Spirit they have much to offer others facing this dilemma.

    From the wealth of information expressed by God's people who were participants in my doctoral study, there was a rich supply of help available, which I documented.

    I would love to see a format where people could comment around designated topics. Could use the help of internet techies in order to understand how best this could work for the growing community who are interested in dialoging about these topics in a pro-active, solution-seeking way. Collaboration and corroboration could go a long way with this issue.

    People are welcome to email me personally, as well as post comments here.

    Barb's Email:

    1. I believe the forum format is our best and easiest "out of the box" option. I’m not one of those techies, I suspect brad has more technical knowledge than myself, So if brad (or anyone else) would set something up I would follow.

      Or I’d be willing to set up a forum through wordpress’ BuddyPress, and give moderator status to those of us I mentioned above. I'm just wanting to enlarge our ministry and outreach and participate in an open forum community however that comes about.

    2. I just skimmed the front page of BuddyPress, and that is more the kind of thing I was thinking of that would fit with multiple purposes, like threaded discussions, forums, blog posts where authorized work groups could create and revise documents, blogs, messaging other members. Very very useful.

      That kind of multi-use online content-and-connection system means you could set up specific pages, blogs, and forums just to crowd-source information on legal issues with spiritual abuse, and set up an authorized work group to consolidate that information into, say, a public page or downloadable FAQ document on definitions of defamation, rights and responsibilities of "citizen journalists," cautions about the kinds of statements to avoid and why, etc.

      I was part of a system like this a number of years ago and we had trouble because the "become a member" section wasn't stringent enough and spammers took over with their ads about jewelry sales and such. That, and the lack of someone available to moderate some key features, led to problems. It eventually got hacked and ended up being shut down.

      But it was another system and another era back. Maybe it's time for something like this on the subject of identifying spiritually abusive leaders and systems, recovery, etc.

    3. I'm in Brad. And I would commit my time for the foreseeable future to moderate, maintain, manage, whatever is needed to keep the thing streamlined and going. I'm gonna send you my email via

  11. Beloved in RecoveryJuly 30, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Very well written. This isn't much different, is it?


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