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Christian Topic: Spiritual Abuse of Power(long) - Page 2

post #21 of 36
You can do nothing to help your family come to their senses...except pray. Let God do it in His time. It is so hard to wait, but His time is always better than ours.
post #22 of 36
Thread Starter 
Just to let you all know...

Dh did get the website job at the other church...they are perfectly ok with us attending another church...so I guess it was just us being paranoid:

Also, the new church we have been going to is having a marriage class, kinda like sunday school....Dh and I are really excited about this, since the baby our marriage has been pretty strained at time...so hopefully this helps.

Anyway, thanks for all the advice....
post #23 of 36
Wow. I had no idea there was such a thing as 'prosperity ministry'. I'm not Christian, but isn't there a lot of scripture about taking care of the poor? "Blessed are the poor" and all that? How on earth do these folks get away with this? I guess there is a lot of greed and consumerism in this culture, and folks ready to believe that it's God's will. Wow.

Good for you two for letting your faith and hearts and minds lead you out of there! And best of luck in finding the congregation that works best for your family.
post #24 of 36

I am so glad that even as someone who is not a Christian, you know that there are scriptures about taking care of the poor and such.

People get away with this because we all want to believe what we want to believe, and sometimes a lie can be swallowed one nibble at a time, untill the whole thing is swallowed, it's not like one big gulp.

I agree, hooray for this couple for listening to their hearts and getting out of there!

post #25 of 36
Thread Starter 

thanks for your post, I too agree that it is nice for an "outsider" (no offense intended) to see that it is wrong too.

Like DLB said: a lie is swallowed one bite at a time. That is sooo true....these pastors tell you about how God wants to prosper you, how the Bible talks about when you give you will be given ten fold...blah blah blah

After awhile you start to believe it...who doesn't want to believe that God wants you to be a millionare!?! They start talking about how Jesus is the King of Kings...so natually he would be wealthy right? :

Like I said before, these people are so nice and seem so sincere when you meet them, you WANT to believe the...because they just have that charisma about them....but it isn't until later...for us it was 2 years later, that you start to see things you didn't see before, you start to see through them and their message....

Anyway, I am glad we left too...if not for us then for our dd...she doesn't need to know that kind of manipulation
post #26 of 36
Originally posted by DeAnna Lynn Britt
I am so glad that even as someone who is not a Christian, you know that there are scriptures about taking care of the poor and such.dlb
Well, don't be too impressed. Most of what I know about the Bible I learned from Sweet Honey in the Rock.

post #27 of 36
Not only are there scriptures about taking care of the poor, but there is also an explicit warning about replacing the true gospel with the gospel of "health and wealth." I'm not gonna go look it up but there is a lament over the great many people, eager for money, who have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Can you imagine anything more tragic? Trading in the truth of God for the love of money? It makes me want to cry.
post #28 of 36
Wow! Your old church not only seems to be fundamentally misguided, but also sounds like a cult! Here is a some information I got from a cult awareness website (www.csj.org). If this sounds like your old church to you, you might want to get involved with a support group for families of cult members and ex-cult members.

What is a Cult?

A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g., isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.) designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community. (West & Langone, 1986)

Characteristics of a Destructive Cult

Authoritarian pyramid structure with authority at the top

Charismatic or messianic leader(s) (Messianic meaning they either say they are God OR that they alone can interpret the scriptures the way God intended.....the leaders are self-appointed.

Deception in recruitment and/or fund raising

Isolation from society -- not necessarily physical isolation like on some compound in Waco, but this can be psychological isolation -- the rest of the world is not saved, not Christian, not transformed (whatever) -- the only valid source of feedback and information is the group

Use of mind control techniques (we use Dr. Robert Jay Lifton's criteria from chapter 22 of his book Thought Reform & the Psychology of Totalism to compare whether the eight psychological and social methods he lists are present in the group at question)

Mileu Control: Control of the environment and communication within the environment

Mystical Manipulation: Seeks to promote specific patterns of behavior and emotion in such a way that it appears to have arisen spontaneously from within the environment, while it actually has been orchestrated totalist leaders claim to be agents chosen by God, history, or some supernatural force, to carry out the mystical imperative the "principles" (God-centered or otherwise) can be put forcibly and claimed exclusively, so that the cult and its beliefs become the only true path to salvation (or enlightenment)

Demand for Purity: The world becomes sharply divided into the pure and the impure, the absolutely good (the group/ideology) and the absolutely evil (everything outside the group) one must continually change or conform to the group "norm"; tendencies towards guilt and shame are used as emotional levers for the group's controlling and manipulative influences

Confession: Cultic confession is carried beyond its ordinary religious, legal and therapeutic expressions to the point of becoming a cult in itself sessions in which one confesses to one's sin are accompanied by patterns of criticism and self-criticism, generally transpiring within small groups with an active and dynamic thrust toward personal change

Sacred Science: The totalist milieu maintains an aura of sacredness around its basic doctrine or ideology, holding it as an ultimate moral vision for the ordering of human existence questioning or criticizing those basic assumptions is prohibited a reverence is demanded for the ideology/doctrine, the originators of the ideology/doctrine, the present bearers of the ideology/doctrine offers considerable security to young people because it greatly simplifies the world and answers a contemporary need to combine a sacred set of dogmatic principles with a claim to a science embodying the truth about human behavior and human psychology

Loading the Language: Words are given new meanings -- the outside world does not use the words or phrases in the same way -- it becomes a "group" word or phrase

Doctrine Over Person: If one questions the beliefs of the group or the leaders of the group, one is made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to even question -- it is always "turned around" on them and the questioner/criticizer is questioned rather than the questions answered directly the underlying assumption is that doctrine/ideology is ultimately more valid, true and real than any aspect of actual human character or human experience and one must subject one's experience to that "truth" the experience of contradiction can be immediately associated with guilt one is made to feel that doubts are reflections of one's own evil when doubt arises, conflicts become intense

Dispensing of Existence: Since the group has an absolute or totalist vision of truth, those who are not in the group are bound up in evil, are not enlightened, are not saved, and do not have the right to exist; impediments to legitimate being must be pushed away or destroyed one outside the group may always receive their right of existence by joining the group; fear manipulation -- if one leaves this group, one leaves God or loses their salvation/transformation, or something bad will happen to them; the group is the "elite", outsiders are "of the world", "evil", "unenlightened", etc.
post #29 of 36
Thanks DashsMama, that is good stuff.
You know some families exhibt the same patterns.
post #30 of 36
rwikene, I am so thankful that you were able to leave that church. It sounds like Satan has a powerful hold on it and is using his best deciptive tactics. Sounds like the pastor is so in love with his new found power that he has no connection to the Father right now. He has chosen to listen to the "great deceiver". At least you are speaking the truth in love to your family who has been sucked in too. All you can do is stand your ground, keep loving them, keep praying, etc. I don't know if you ever have "deep" talks with your family members, but maybe you could try to focus some conversation not on "church" but what's going on in your PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with CHRIST! It's easiest for all of us to argue about churches and doctrine rather than expose what's going on personally. Maybe trying to focus any church-type talk onto relationships. That's what Christ came for! I'm just giving my two cents since you asked for it! And hiding God's word in your heart by memorizing scripture will always come in handy at the right moment! I have really really been lacking in my personal relationship with Christ lately, in that I don't make time to spend with *just Him*, so I don't really have any place to talk. I am involved in Bible study, but it feels more like homework (well, that's what is really is with BSF!) than relationship-building....

ANYWAY.....we all need encouragement, and I hope you're able to find it in the comfort of Christ...through Christian fellowship at your new church! And keep loving that family and proclaiming the Truth in Love!! (sorry to preach--I'm so much more preach-y online than in real life!! )


PS Thanks so much for the cult info!!! VERY interesting and helpful. To me it defeats the "all churches/religions are cults" theory I hear spouted to defend other religions that truly are cults.
post #31 of 36
Thread Starter 
Yes, thanks for the cult info.

I am having a hard time putting words to the conversation dh had with his brother this morning about the church. Eventhough I wasn't the one talking to my BIL dh told me about it....

BIL is so commited to this church that he is missing our little lady's first birthday!!! He says his first obligation is to the church, that they could not function effectively without him, so he has to put family second. (he didn't say that his first obligation is God, just the work of the church)

He then proceded to tell dh that *I* am holding him back from the blessings that God has intended for him!!! WHAT?!? That if I would just "allow" then dh would be in full time ministry, and we would be wealthy.

The conversation went about...dh questioning his bro on the theology of the church, and about how the pastor is running the church. Dh's bro then told dh that he "his soul must belong to the devil if he is questioning bil's pastor" and "that God will curse him" : huh? Where in the Bible does it say that you cannot, or should not question someone's motives...especially a pastor?

Then the converstation ended with BIL saying that "He knows what he believes, he doesn't need the scriptures to tell him what to believe" :

Then he told Dh that he wouldn't be speaking to him again. I am sad that the conversation ended that way, but geez!!! I can't believe that his bro actually said those things.

Dh's brother is 20yo, and VERY immature, he WANTS/NEEDS somone to tell him what to do. He is extremely unmotivated....as is the rest of the family. They all think we are nuts b/c we left such "an awesome church"....I just don't get it.

So tomorrow, DD's party will be small, since BIL won't be there and I know MIL won't either b/c she backs her "baby" in everything and since they all hate me anyway...since I am the ruin of their family...turning their son into some sort of hippie weirdo who now has the strength to stand up for himself, and who has now decided against raising children like they all believe. But that's ok by me...good riddens!
post #32 of 36
Hi guys--

Got permission from rwikene to say that I had her and her hubby, punky'sdaddy, over to my house one night last week. She is beautiful, a loving and gentle mama to little Gracie, who is herself an adorable little thing--

and holy cow, how can ANYONE say that that she is holding her husband back from the blessings God has intended for him, when she herself is such a blessing! And she has given the greatest blessing of all, a beautiful, healthy child!

I think BIL has twisted priorities, if he can't see how very blessed this man is!

Just had to vent a little, this is a lovely family trying to break free, and its hard when there are so many ties. Dh and I attended that same church, and left ten years ago-- it is so sad to see that nothing is changed!

Rachell, BIL needs to re-read the proverbs about the virtuous woman being more precious than jewels, her value far above rubies or pearls (proverbs 31:12).

edited to add reference

post #33 of 36
Rachel, WOWW!!! I cannot believe this. It is like divine ntervention! For no real reason at all, I was at teh library today, and found a book that you must read! It will validate your side of the story and maybe help you fend off the ILs.(maybe not, the pastor sounds very persuasive) Anyway, the book is called Money Isnt God, SO why Is the Church Worshipping It? By John White. It is a very quick read and he has a whole chapter devoted to Evangelical Abuse.

Here is my 2 cents. When I was pg with my last baby, I had hyperemesis so badly that I barely moved out of bed most days for 2 months, and I had two little boys to tend. Within the six months before, we had started attending a Christian Church. They were very concerned with being a "seeker friendly church"(I really hate all these Christian buzz words) But, while I was sick, no one could help us. I needed someone to come over and watch the kids for a few hours a day. They brought me meals. hello! I am puking my guts out! I am not eating. The boys are little and dont eat much anyway. Dh is at work. SO, we called and asked specifically for the help that we needed. Still nothing. So, we wrote a long angry letter stating why we were leaving the church. The pastor adn the youth minsiter showed up teh next day, with lots of excuses, putting it back on us for expecting too much, planning to get us help, etc etc. But, actually still nothing! There was only one person in that church that did anything for us. She didnt even know us, but she heard that I was not feeling well(this was before We had requested help) and she came up to dh after the service, introed herself adn said that if we needed any help, call. So, we would and eshe would come over, clean house, care for the boys, take them to her house, sit and visit with me, whatever. SO, this is waht the people at church would say "Call Scotty, she'll help you" I am sorry, there are 150 people in this church, all the ministry should not fall on Scotty(who was also running the preschool, and the nursery and in the choir and anything else they could come up with and trying to be a newlywed and trying to conceive and looking for a paying job) She was the person ther that we saw God in, and she was my doula when Eli was born adn his Godmother. One of the associate pastors lived around the corner from our house, and never came to see us or even call/ Once I got up the courage to ask him if he could pick us up so we could go to the bible study at his house that night(dh was working nights) and he said ok. He got me and brought me home after, but didnt offer to pick me up again. e felt incredibly lonely at that church So, it is not just the Charasmatics.

I attended a foursquare in CA and I have never felt the presence of the Lord like I did there. These people were awesome. The pastor came up and introd himslef and told me how much he loves children adn how he imagines jesus sitting around talking to moms like me with the children all around and I should not feel the need to silene the kiddos and he told me that he really felt that God has led him to give me that message bc I needed to hear it. SO, here I was, crying my eyes out and the first note of music had not been played!!! People at that church welcomed me into their homes adn made us feel a part of their family. The only reason we do not attend there is bc it is 1000 miles away!!
Anyway, dont know if this helps at all, or if it is jsut mindless rambling! I do understand the need to be anonymous sometimes. I hope this church works out. Talk to the pastor about the spiritual abuse you encountered. They may have a program to help you.(like a support group )
post #34 of 36
Thread Starter 
dlb...thanks so much for the kind words

BIL came to the birthday party today, although it was very tense having him and MIL there...we all knew about the conversation that took place the day before...I know he felt bad (at least it's a step in the right direction)

When Dh went up to him to talk about it he claimed that he didn't say any of the things that he did. :

Anyway, DD had a good birthday, made out like a bandit!!! So all in all it was good I guess.

I will check out that book the next time I head for the library....thanks for the suggestion.

Also, wanted to say that dlb had the best boys around....they were sooooo polite, and soooo sweet to my baby!!! How lucky they are to have such a wonderful mama and papa who obviously take wonderful care of them!!!
post #35 of 36
Originally posted by rwikene
since I am the ruin of their family...turning their son into some sort of hippie weirdo who now has the strength to stand up for himself, and who has now decided against raising children like they all believe. But that's ok by me...good riddens!
Three cheers for the hippie weirdo!!
post #36 of 36
Three cheers for the hippie weirdo!!
I second that emotion!! Surely Jesus was accused of the same.
Thank God your dh has learned to stand up for himself. Those kind of families and churches can be so entangling.

Peace and grace,
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