Personal Stories

The sad fact about spiritual abuse is that we are not alone.   Reading the accounts of others (outside of BGBC) who have experienced spiritual abuse was very eye-opening for me and enabled me to see more clearly what I had gone through.  I hope that it will do the same for you.  You will read stories of legal battles, shunning, church discipline used inappropriately, abuse situations overlooked, etc.  Identifying the problem is the first step in recovery and healing.

If you have a personal story to share, please send to:  bgbcsurvivors@gmail.com and tell me you would like this posted in the Personal Story area.



Holy Terror - The Pendergast Story - Couple from Canada share their heart-breaking story and describe the pain of spiritual abuse by their church worse than the pain they felt when they lost their 28-yr old son in a car accident.  

The Search For the Perfect Church - Jennifer and Mark Epstein's story of how they came to Boerne Christian Assembly.  Doug Phillips is very popular in the homeschool community as a speaker, selling videos, toys, etc at his site.  Jen tells the story how they are treated when she confronts Doug Phillips with her husband's anger issues, how the pastor institutes church discipline, how church members treat them (shunning), how new churches treat them, etc.  You will read about legal threats and attempts at professional Christian mediation. 

Let Him Alone; God Hath Bidden Him to Speak: FBC Jax and the Consequences of Silencing Dissent - Blogger Tom Rich sued FBC Pastor Mac Brunson in a several-year court battle and won.


Athena Dean's blog, Not Afraid to Tell My Story, tells the 12-year journey in the cult and chronicles her journey of healing.

 Joyful Exiles - Paul and Jonna Petry - "Four and half years ago, I was fired from Mars Hill Church because I refused to resign under pressure. I was a pastor on staff, an elder, and an officer of the corporation along with a group of other men.   I spent months seeking formal reconciliation and years hoping for a better course.   I have not spoken about these matters publicly until now. With the mounting stories and “histories” coming out regarding Mars Hill Church, it no longer seems right or beneficial to remain silent."


Anouke's Story:  Publicly slandered, shunned, and abused by her pastor.  Abuse symptoms last for years.  Very sad story - very similar to many I know from our former church.



59 comments:

  1. You are not alone - God is working through you and others to reveal the sad state of men centered churches rather than Christ centered. I will pray for you all.
    online-church.tv

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    1. ...that is so true. Sign of the times

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    2. Why does an all powerful god need to work through someone (in other words, god does nothing and the person does everything)? Shouldn't he be able to handle it on his own? It is almost as if he actually isn't there.

      God's will is always done on earth and in heaven so what does praying accomplish? Is he going to change it to something that isn't his will based on your prayer?

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  2. yeah, I don't think the answer is to fix the institution, though

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  3. I think you are well within your right to question the church and it's leaders.

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    1. Only if you know the word of God and are a tither!

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    2. Is this statement true?
      What if you just know abuse when you see it?

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    3. not sure - 100 percent absolutely right. "Only if you know the word of God and are a tither." And what if you're 3 years old and were raped? Keep your mouth shut right? This is the mentality that got SGM into very deep hot water at this moment.

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  4. You are very brave to take on this issue. I have been out of the IFB church for over 30 years and even after all this time I still do not think I could take the sort of attack that anyone who stands up to them is going to have to endure. Praying for you and your family.

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  5. Your story is on foxnews, that's where I heard about it. I hope everything works in your favor!

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  6. Good story. That church will fail soon. With all the attention they are getting, and after they lose in court that church will fail and the pastor needs to be excommunicated for sure. He does not deserve the right to be a pastor when all he does is preach hate.

    I live in the portland area and will be watching very close. I may be willing to donate cash if needed. Someone should setup a web page for donations to help the defense fund I would be glad to donate.

    I will say one thing though, the church will not get away with this. They think they have it bad now, wait till 200 more websites come up with the same information. I can make that happen. This cause will not be lost until that church is brought to their knees and ask for forgiveness.

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    1. There is a donation link on the right side bar.

      You are absolutely right - this is something that has been going on far too long and my former church is just one of a multitude by the accounts of the e-mails I've been receiving.

      Thanks for your support!

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  7. This bunch of goofballs reminds me of the westboro baptist church nut-cases. Who needs the hassle? Head on down the road to a better church.

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  8. 100% behind you....free speech must be preserved above all else.

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  9. You need to request help from some of the more well known evangelical churches. Many of those pastors will stand up for you and to this pastor's trumped up teachings and will call him out on it. I would definitely seek the help of them. When the teachings are being taught INCORRECTLY,that is when our Christian community must stand up to those who would mislead others. I find it ironic that a Christian pastor would sue another Christian. This goes against the teachings of Paul. Paul said it is wrong for a Christian to sue another Christian. Already, I see a failure in this pastor and his teachings. You have already made the news. Now you need to request spiritual help from the better well known Evangelical Pastors who will most likely stand up for you. We are praying for you and hope that you will be guided and protected from this situation. I hope this Pastor sees the error of his ways and repents for what he is doing and how he is teaching the Gospel.

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    1. What a great idea. I hope that pastors would reach out to me and offer assistance. We need to keep talking about this issue that is so prevalent.

      Great comment!

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    2. You know, in my experience, you will receive no help from local area churches.. This came as an utter shock to me recently, with a very similar situation involving my family and their "behaviorally-challenged" church...

      It is unfortunate, but I have come to the conclusion that most people who attend church, do so for solace and peace.. Most parishioners/church members, while they may sympathize with your pain and abuse, will do absolutely nothing in your favor.. That is why "the church" is such a difficult enigma..

      What I DO find amazing however, is the support I am reading on this and other blogs, for Julie Anne's cause.. The dichotomy and wide spectrum of supporters is very diverse.. It is an interesting study on human reaction and behavior, as these supporters come from so many different backgrounds of belief, or disbelief. Everyone from Evangelical Christians, to out-an-out Atheists and Agnostics...

      There is power in numbers.. And the will always reign in the end.. It is fortunate that we live in a day and age where truth can ring out and reach the masses....

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    3. Dave - One of the most challenging emotional issues for me was the fact that no local pastor was willing to help. I have discussed this at great length with many people including pastors. I've been thinking about doing a blog post on this topic because if both you and I have experienced it, surely there are more. I am now more at peace after having wrestled with this issue and it would be a great topic of conversation.

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    4. daveschrom and Julie Anne, you are both so right. Contacting other churches does no good. Guys from the abusive church were threatening to sue me. At the urging of several people at the church I went to after leaving the abusive church (who knew about the situation at the abusive church and other spiritually abusive things happening there) I went to the new church's pastor and they were going to have someone counsel with me and one of the 'executive pastors' was going to 'confront' the abusive church on my behalf. They told me that in September 2011… and all that has happened is a couple emails saying they were working on it after other people confronted them about not contacting me.

      I would tell anyone who had been in an abusive church to not submit themselves to the additional abuse of speaking with another pastor about the spiritual abuse… even when it includes theft by deception of tens of thousands of dollars, as it did in my case.
      Those additional lies from that second church just perpetuated the hurt. Now I do not attend church and I don't know if I will ever be able to go in a church building again….
      .
      .
      ‎"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."
      — Brennan Manning
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      .
      From: http://fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com
      One of the recurring themes on this blog is how Christian pastors time and time again fail to hold each other accountable to even the most basic professional standards.
      .
      .
      Some of the abusive guys at my abusive church threatened to sue me. Julie Anne, I have been following your blog and praying for you. And will continue to support you……

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    5. Double Thumbs UP, AL.. You have just hit on the biggest question of the century:

      "Why do Christian Pastors, time and time again, fail to hold each other accountable to even the most basic professional standards?"

      Apostle Paul held the early Christian Churches accountable.. And we see many examples in the New Testament where Christian Brothers and Sisters are to question one another along with their spiritual leaders, and keep them on the right, Biblical track...

      So Julie Anne, when will the Judge issue a ruling from last Friday's court session? I assume he is ruling on Summary Judgment?

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    6. We're still waiting, Dave. LA-DE-DA with my foot tapping :) We should hear something within the next week.

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  10. what happened to freedom of speech and religion? You are only writing what you feel if these members of this so called church can not make up their own minds to talk to former members or not is crazy. Sounds like a cult to me but then again I am not there but I choose to talk or not , I won;t ever have a pastor tell me who I can and can not talk to, He lives Tax free and has a home usually paid for by the church does he really need that much money? I doubt he will get it unless the judge is a member of that church and then again conflict of interest needs to be excused and another non biast judge put in the place. you go girl!

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  11. I'm not writing as anonymous cause I don't want to be known. I just don't have any of the other accounts with which to post my name. I have so many stories of spiritual abuse...there are no words.

    In the book of Judges 17:6 God's Word says the following of Israel:

    In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

    This is today's church in America. No regards for the Word of God, no regards for Christian love, no regards for "rebuke, teaching, correcting, so that the man of God may be adequate in all things..."

    If you try and reason with other so-called Christians with the Scriptures they will come back at you with Scriptures taken completely out of context just so they can also quote a verse. It means nothing to them cause they don't even understand it.

    I think we have sunk to the lowest point ever in the Church in America. May God help us all.

    But Julie Anne....you are a voice crying out in the wilderness. Do not be silent. When Elijah thought he was alone God reminded him of thousands who had NOT BOWED THEIR KNEE TO BAAL!!!! You be one of them and you are not alone.

    May the Holy Spirit who gives life to all believers and by Who's power raised Jesus from the dead continue to work in you.

    God grant us victory over our enemies and those who are deceived and act as enemies. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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    1. I'm late in responding to your note. Boy, did you nail it! I agree 100% and if this frivolous lawsuit provides an opportunity for me to tell the world of this problem, so be it!

      Thanks for the support!

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  12. I just saw your story on Fox News. I will be praying for all involved. God bless!

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  13. As someone who has dealt with past spiritual abuse, my prayers are with you and your family. It seems like that much of the Christian Church in America has let their love wax cold. No wonder that so many of the under 30 demographic are no longer attending church. The church is supposed to be representing Jesus and God`s Word. I understand that people are human and fall short of the glory of God. But there seems to be quite a few within churches that are intent on hurting others spiritually. All of my teens have been alienated because of people who were just plain mean and judgemental.
    We are living in perilous times and our nation and its people really need the Lord. Instead some of His so called followers are wounding and beating the sheep.

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  14. Just as a note of clarification, pastors do not live tax free. We pay self-employment taxes on top of (that's in addition to) the income taxes that everyone else pays. Comes out to around 35-40% of the "salary package" being taxes... But no God-called pastor does it for the salary! :-)

    To the issue at hand, though, I am grieved to hear of cult-like practices that you've gone through. Across the NT, biblical church discipline is to be loving, redemptive, humble, gentle, and restorative in nature. God disciplines us as sons, that we may share in his holiness (see Hebrews 12:5-17). It is a mandate given to the local church (Matthew 18:15-18; 1 Corinthians 5), but it is to be done in great love and tenderness (Galatians 6:1-2).

    My prayer for you is that you will know afresh the grace of the gospel of Christ and that you will forgive as the Lord has forgiven you. My prayer for this pastor is that he will come to his senses and stop hurting his sheep (1 Peter 5:1-5), and will instead point them to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Ministry that majors on the glory of God in the face of Jesus rarely goes astray; but ministry that majors on the peripherals nearly always does.

    Grace to you.

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    1. I don't care how you interpret the scriptures the church has no place to discipline any of its members. Any discipline at all is abuse.

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    2. You are extremely confused.

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    3. Interesting post Reagan.. And I do follow your Biblical train of thought regarding church discipline.. Nice job..

      That being said, and also coming from a PK background, I'd have to say that most of the 'discipline' that was necessary in the many churches my father pastored throughout the years, would have been mostly directed toward the church's leadership.. Elders, Deacons, Associate Ministers, Choir Directors, Sunday School Teachers, even Janitors - all the people who were somehow in charge of the flock.. They were always the most compromised group of people in attendance..

      Call it ego-driven, power-hungry, or just haughty, self-righteous behavior, they always seemed to be the ones with the "log in their eye"... Obviously there were instances of plain church members in need of swift guidance, but the major trouble-makers, at least in my opinion, were always the ones who wielded some sort of power and influence over others within the church body...

      What's that saying? "Power Corrupts, and Absolute Power Will Corrupt Absolutely"...

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  15. Just sending you a note of support and encouragement. What you are doing takes courage and strength! It is about time that someone tells the truth. Good for you!!! bb

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  16. There are many people who have been hurt by so called spiritual leaders. There are EX- boards all over the net. One of the worst offenders are Jehovah's Witnesses. Read some of the stories on this site, especially under "best of" forum.
    http://www.jehovahs-witness.net/

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  17. His lawsuit should definitely be thrown out!

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    So saying something is "creepy" is defamation?

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    1. In his opinion. The court will decide soon :)

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  18. may God bless you in this endeavor. I came out of a very controlling power driven evangelical church myself. I've never felt so free when I left. It is ashamed that after leaving, I not only lost my family (for about 2 years), I lost all my friends too. It's sometimes a difficult and lonely path. Just know God is there for you and will direct your path.

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  19. This saddens me beyond belief. I have a story of Church/Spiritual abuse that would curl your hair. I will not go into detail because detail does not matter anymore. Sufffice it to say that my story is as unbelievable and painful as anyones. I lost much and suffered much through a two year ordeal that robbed me of joy, peace, health, sleep, and relationships.

    What saddens me is where this particular story has ended up. I followed a link on my homepage because the headline caught my attention. The church is wrong to sue. Period. It cannot be more clear in Scripture. However, I would contend that there is just as much wrong being done by the other party. Please just find a healthy church, heal, serve, love and leave the other place in Gods hands.

    There is so much damage being done to the name of Jesus in all of this and it is a cause for much grief. There are no innocent parties here. The Google posts should have never been made, the blog never started, and the lawsuit never initiated. The reasons that Scripture commands no lawsuits among believers are the same reasons we should not "take to the airwaves" with our comments and opinions. A blog is not a place to heal - A healthy church is. We are providing the world with all the ammunition they need to call us hypocrites and to want nothing to do with our Jesus. Sometimes I can't blame them for how they view us.

    There are healthy churches out there - find one. If and when you do it will not be necessary to pursue this course of action any longer. It has become your identity. Move on. Believe me I know how hard that is. It is the single most painful experience of my life - Hands down.

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    1. Bingo...

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    2. Hmm...
      in my experience, the route followed on this site (and sites like it) that involve honest critiques while maintaining faith is more beneficial to 'those outside the church' than the attitude that seems to says the 'healthy' route is to 'sweep it under the rug and pretend it isn't there'. THAT method causes more disdain and cries of hypocrisy than open discussion of problems ever will.

      Plus, if people are not warned of dangerous wolves in shepherd's clothing, they will be devoured as well.

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  20. I worked at a well-respected church, believed everything the Senior Pastor said about what it meant to be the body of Christ. But, when another staffer, a jealous woman with unresolved daddy issues, made inflammatory comments about my relationship with the senior pastor - how my relationship with him was "inappropriate" - instead of calling her out on her craziness, or calling me in and letting me defend myself, he began a series of meetings with many leaders of the church. Through two full days I wondered why people whose children I had taught in Sunday School were walking by my office staring at me with unspoken accusations. It was all secrets and closed doors, and I had no idea my life was about to be shaken by a personal, spiritual earthquake. When I finally was informed of the accusations, I said, "Why didn't you look at her and say 'this did not happen - get out of my office.' Or, at the very least, why didn't you talk to me first?" He said, "You have to understand, it is my job to protect the collar. I knew there was nothing to her story, but I had to protect the collar first." I quit. I walked out. My family left the church. I didn't explain, didn't talk about it, didn't contact any of those people again. But, I was torn up. I believed that the church was about caring for one another. I found out this church, at least, was about saying one thing and doing another.

    It is 12 years later. I am not currently attending a church, although I am still believe in Jesus and actively seek a relationship with him. I just saw that pastor for the first time in a decade at a funeral. He reached for me to say hello and I walked on by. He's had 10 years to reach out, to talk. Why would I want to act like we had any sort of relationship just because I happened to walk by? The woman with daddy issues who made up the lies? Nervous breakdown; crazy will do that to you. One of the women from church council who felt "coerced" by the instigator into saying she saw things that didn't happen came to me bawling, begging forgiveness. I said she needed to forgive herself. There was nothing I could do for her. The pastor who lied to cover the fact that he had a porn addiction? Hasn't been able to hold a church. He is a well respected pastor from a large, influential congregation. The retired pastor who took me aside to say he always thought I had been treated poorly? It was his funeral we were attending. And the pastor who protected the collar? He still has it.

    So many lives were changed, all for the sake of a piece of plastic. To me? That pristine collar is just a reminder of whited sepulchers. Nothing more.

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  21. I bet alot of the people whi attended ot attend church still they us the this scripture verse Hebrews 10:25 24and let us consider one another for provoking to love and good works; 25not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the custom [is] with some; but encouraging [one another], and by so much the more as ye see the day drawing near.

    Publications, First Gospel (2012-01-09). DBY 1890 John Nelson Darby's the Holy Scriptures (Student's Edition) (Kindle Locations 115685-115687). First Gospel Publications. Kindle Edition. It has nothing t odo with church and it is not Gods plan that His body be cuped up in a church biulding. Good job standing up to the golith church system.

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  22. More abuse recovery sites

    http://lee_hardiman.tripod.com/home.html
    http://www.silentlambs.org/
    http://www.freeminds.org/
    http://www.watchtowerdocuments.com/index.html

    Thanks Julie for getting this issue on TV. Many lives have been destroyed by spiritual abuse.
    I hope you will consider including some of the links above on this site. thanks.

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  23. if i may add my own thoughts here for a moment......why is a church suing for money? i remember a part off the bible where jesus got rather upset for money in a temple.....i just dont understand people sometimes

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  24. I asked for the church's side of the story and got a letter that said "Julie Anne Smith stated that the church allows “sex offenders having free reign in childrens’ area with no discloser to parents… .”"

    That's a serious allegation. If true, and you can prove it, you have nothing to worry about. If you can't prove it, better start raising $500,000 fast.

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    1. IF this were truth, why aren't they suing for this 'accusation'?
      While it is mentioned on the suit, it is not the main reason, its because she posted on google. He has twisted what happened, because thats how he rolls. Blames others for his carelessness, Members have left in droths these last 8 years, and it is always out of Chucks mouth and behavior that causes members to leave.
      Many families left prior to this post~MANY! Long before Julie Anne's posting on google.

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  25. I just recently read about your story (on Wartburg Watch). I stand with you - a "Pastor" suing you is just nuts. You church sounds oddly familiar to Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM - I am guessing your are familiar with them and their abuse at this point since you have a link to the Survivors site) - I was a part of one of their churches. They threatened to sue me when I left if I told any one that I think they are a cult. The threats didn't stop me at all.

    I am so sorry to hear about your situation, this is just awful.

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    1. Yes, I do know SGM - I've been reading the survivor site for years now and the stories were just like what we experienced. We actually visited one for a few wks when we lived in VA years ago.

      I'm glad you got out!

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  26. Thanks - I am glad I got out too, left almost 20 years ago! Still a follower of Christ but I will not becoming a church member anytime soon.

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  27. A church is a community. When that church turns upon you it can be crippling. The relationships and lifestyle all lost. You trust that church and when the church abuses it action must be taken, whether that be sexual abuse or things like shunning because of changed beliefs.

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  28. Angela Schrom NavinJuly 13, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Dear Julie Anne,
    Bless your heart for all you've been through.
    You are expressing what our family has been dealing with for the past 10 months. Our Church of 30 years, where I might add my father was the Senior Minister of almost 20 years and very loved, decided to make 2 felons their new mininstry project. The felons wanted people to believe that they were a changed couple. On the evening of September 7 2011 the husband of the couple lost his temper and our son was his target. Our son did not react violently. But when the couple was confronted after our son complained about them to the church leaders, the felons made up a lie accusing him of stabbing the wife in the hand with a knife. Our church could'nt be bothered to listen to both sides of the story and handle the situation in a biblical way. Instead they ran off to the authorities of the world (a Chief of Police). Our son was then arrested, put in jail, and had to be bailed out for $3,000 dollars. We were looking at a Measure 11 crime. With a long Prison sentence if convicted. We were forced to hire a defense attorney on borrowed money. The charges were eventually dropped by the DA when he received the Forensic report that determined the wifes very small wound was much older than the night of the supposed attack, showing an old infection and comparable to that of a paper cut. Now the bill exceeds $20,000 dollars. This couple is still being put in places of leadership over children and other church functions. Even though we informed the church leadership of the couples history and ongoing criminal activities, we were the ones treated like the felons, accused of gossip, hardened and prideful hearts, and un-Christ like behavior all because we knew our son was innocent and we needed to stand with him. After many attempts through written communication they still turned their backs on us. When we asked for an apology and for some monitary reimbursement they responded with a letter from an attorney with a denial of any and all responsiblility for both requests and an order to cease and desist. They still wanted to let us know that when we felt ready to do so, we were invited back to worship and study Gods word with them in Christian love. What a joke!!! After all the Friendships, Births, Weddings, Graduations, Baptisms, Deaths, I guess we were not worth their time. They were even instructed by their new Minister to stay away from any contact with our family when my Husband had a heart attack in January of 2012. If we had to name our story, it would be called, "Churches Behaving Badly".

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    1. I just now read this. My prayers go out to you. The ramifications of spiritual abuse still astound me as I read more stories. And when it happened to me, I thought I was alone. I hope to soon have the courage to tell my story so I can be a help to others as you and others have been a help to me by talking and not staying in the shadows as I have done for the past two years.
      Thank you and God Bless you!

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  29. I just saw this on the news and thought it would be worth a peek... I am thoroughly disappointed with both parties.

    @Julieanne - What is your purpose? Im sure you have stated it somewhere, If I had 4 years of spare time I would be able to read everything you wrote; thankfully I do not. I understand bringing awareness to a situation that is not acceptable, I commend you for that. But why pursue the situation as far as you have? You seem to have educated yourself on the teachings of the LORD, but yet you don't follow them yourself? You should know as well as I do it is not your place to judge this pastor or church, that job belongs to our Father above.

    Take a deep breathe, it is ok to let the LORD handle these situations - and any outcome HE decides is fit for the situation will be far more powerful than your internet blog. It is not your responsibility to save everyone who may be in danger - have faith that the LORD will take care of it and it will be done.

    Your argument is valid - your approach is skewed.


    @pastor in question - In my professional opinion, you have some unmet needs in life and your desire to control a body of people and have them believe as you do is a direct reflection of that. You're feeling frustrated that your reign has been challenged and instead of addressing the problem at hand, you have attempted to deflect the attention from your issues and point out the struggles of others. Did GOD tell you to try and take someone's $500,000 which you did not earn? Did JESUS ever demand anyone to ever pay for any action? The answer is absolutely not; instead, HE forgave the very people who violently pounded nails through HIS feet and hands right before HE died. Pray to the LORD that he may help you find what it is you are looking for. Sheep are incapable of leading sheep - our LORD the Shepard is the only one capable of doing this - stop trying to use HIS words as yours.

    We are all GOD's children, treat us as such - and have unconditional faith that our LORD will show you how.

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    1. babyboomtown: If you have not experienced spiritual abuse, it may be difficult to understand the purpose of this blog. However, if you hang around and start to read comments from readers who have, try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine what they are going through, you might understand the purpose of this blog.

      Here is what I said about the purpose on the top-right of the blog right by my picture: The story of spiritual abuse needs to be told. People are being hurt emotionally and spiritually by pastors who use bully tactics and we need a place to learn, to talk freely, and to heal. I will not be silenced.

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    2. Julie Anne: It's interesting to read someone telling you not to judge....in a very judgemental tone. I guess that's another hallmark of abusive church people. They don't even hear their own self-righteous tone when they talk down to you.
      Thank you for not being silenced. I thank God for you. There are thousands, if not millions of us survivors out there. It's healing to know that we are not making it up. We are not bad people. And we are not alone.
      God. Bless. You.

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    3. @Julie Anne: I agree with you regarding support for someone who is struggling with something like spiritual abuse - it is something that is hard to walk away from - and for someone who is alone it is very painful and draining.

      I was raised in an LDS household, I disagreed with the teachings my whole life and was taught to believe there was something wrong with me as a result. I turned to drugs and alcohol and healed that pain - temporarily. I am in recovery and FULLY understand the healing powers of a community. Like I said, your argument is valid, but your APPROACH is skewed.

      It is important to focus on healing the abused rather than attacking the abuser. **For all those wanting to accuse me of being an "abusive church person" as a result of my conflicting advice in this post and my initial post, my preventative answer to you is my purpose on this website is different than Julie Anne's. ** In order to be effective and promote love and healing it is important to talk about what hurts and leave out 'who hurt you.'

      So to conclude, I understand your purpose - I get it - you are compassionate for others who are going through what you went/ are going through and you want to make this a safe place in hopes of helping. If this is in fact your mission here as you claim, make it safe - free of anger and spite. Your continual "I will not be silenced" is powerful, but don't let it be transparent - as a professional clinical counselor I see pain, sadness and fear behind your words.

      I pray the LORD may bless you and work through you in a way that will be productive to those suffering, He has given you the strength but has put the direction in your hands.

      May GOD bless you and watch over you.

      p.s. @Anonymous (comment above) - I did not know words on a computer screen carried with them "judgmental" and "self-righteous" tones. Consider objective context (will also help with scripture study) rather than subjective perceptions. For example, a hallmark of a 'spiritual abuser' is someone who was physically, sexually or emotionally abused as a child/young adult themselves. This abuse manifests itself in things like church congregations or class rooms where people come to listen to them and look up to them, as means to make sure they are never out of control again - and as an added bonus - temporarily experience the power that was taken away from them when they were hurt earlier in life. So rather than generalizing 'spiritual abusers' understand there is something that hurts inside of them, and they way they communicating their spiritual beliefs is the only way they know how to feel better. Your best option is to pray for their comfort and peace, and to allow GOD to work through them in way that is conducive to what HE wants --- not what you want.

      Delete
  30. My sister was attending this Church, between 6-7 yrs ago! She had a 12 yr relationship, which ended badly. She was inconsolable. I had suggested she seek out "GOD"! She was trying different church's and found " Beaverton Grace Bible Church ".

    She felt she could have fellowship with others and hear the "Word Of God". At that time, "Pastor Chuck" had not been with that church very long and it was a small congregation. She invited me to attend a service with her, so I did. Half way through the service, I was so irritated and getting so angry..I apologized to my sister and got up and left!

    I waited in the car til people started coming out and I went back inside. I confronted the Pastor about what he was saying during the service..He had talked about Santa Clause, Christmas and how he didn't want to hear anyone talk about"The man in the red suit!" About giving and receiving gift's on that day. It seemed to me,that he was directing his comments to the children,Especially!

    It felt to me, that he spent more time, trying to brainwash his congregation..than reading from the Bible!!! I told the Pastor, I would not be coming back to his Church, nor would I EVER refer anyone! The Only other Church I felt that way about, was the Pentecostal's. I have attended a lot of different church's in my life, and tried different Religions... I have decided that To love GOD, I don't have to go to a building, a Bible Study or a Bible Camp.. God, Is in my heart!
    Just saying, I'm glad I got my sister away from what may have become another disastrous situation, in her life! Julie, I'm sending God's love and light, your way!

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  31. Mister snuffle LufugusJuly 19, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    Mr Snuffle Lufugus

    Why are you trying to ruin this pastors life? Are you out seeking revenge for something he did to you?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi, Julie,
    I appreciate the time you are spending to provide this forum to people. I was a victim of spiritual abuse many years ago. It took me almost twenty years to write about what had happened. My purpose in writing was to give encouragement and strength to people who live inside “no talk” systems like the one that I live in, though I must say that writing the story has also helped me to heal and helped my relationship with some of my children who had no idea what was happening at the time that it happened. I have heard “no talk” systems bashed by speakers, but the truth is that not everyone is able to walk away. I would say that a system under stress is characterized by some of the things that are being reported on your blog. Some individuals in the system are treated badly and even gotten rid of. The words I have heard to describe this most often was that there are people who “just do not fit in”. Others left in the system seem to have to make a choice between supporting the institution or supporting the victim. Telling the story of what has happened to us is viewed as an attack even though we are only telling the truth because the truth undermines the reputation of a leader. When this happens people often cannot have sympathy with the victim because they are overwhelmed with concern about the leader’s situation and the institution’s future. Defense cannot sympathize.
    My community has had a leadership problem that has perpetuated itself for decades. Employees in the county system often take the pressure of this problem. The leadership side is the bullying side and the unlucky employees become angry about what is happening to them and their families and are seen as being out to get the leaders. The frustration for county leader was that replacing a leader did not take care of the problem. It just reoccurred and with the same employees. All of this pressure comes down on the churches and causes stress inside the churches as well.
    The main conflict in the story I have written is between me and a fellow church member who was on the board of commissioners for eleven years and had developed the philosophy that being involved was a sin because it would not do any good and would ruin one’s life. I chose to write the story under a pen name, Mea Gray, because I love my church and my community. My partner in conflict and I still attend the same church and speak to each other.
    My husband went to a grievance hearing regarding the terrible working conditions he was under and was crucified on the front page of the paper three times and blamed for the problem. He was actually depicted as a thief and a liar. He now works for the newspaper owner. There are really just not very many resources for helping one to keep one’s sanity in this kind of a situation, and I wish I had had a book to read because the unwritten rules are just not written. One would like to think one’s experiences could count for something. My story is emotional and intense. It may actually help others to feel more fortunate who have the ability to walk out of a church in a way that is easier than walking away from a community—especially when one’s husband does not understand how very difficult it is for one to cope. I guess I am glad that we stayed. I know there are other places like the one where I live and really hope that my story can be of help to someone else. I entitled the story To God Be the Glory because it is. I would not be able to write this to you without His help. I thank Him especially for helping my family. If any of your readers are interested in the book I have self-pubished, they can contact the distributing company at ljranch@live.com. All of the characters and places in the story have fictional names. Although I see this all as a terrible burden on the good people of my community, speaking about it internally would be seen as anti-community.
    I have not spoken about this for a long time. Thank you for giving me this place to write.
    With love,
    Mea Gray

    ReplyDelete

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