I watched two of my friends today on a YouTube video. Their message was chilling and compelling and courageous. They spoke of abuse and being groomed by the abuser for some time. They spoke of the insidious questions that a person in authority or an authority figure will ask the person that they are grooming. Questions such as, ‘Are you trustworthy?’ ‘Can you keep a secret?’ What is happening…you must take to your grave.’
There are churches that abuse. If your town does not have one…you are an anomaly. Pastoral abuse can range from simple nosiness…to church leadership inquiring into your personal finances and requiring you to give at least 10%…and often 20% or more of your hard earned dollars that you need to support your family. Cults…or wolves that masquerade as sheep…want to be in the middle of couples married life. Commenting on everything from a persons weight to their perceived loyalty to the all knowing leader…who insists on a daily basis that only he/she hears from God…and all else is heresy.
Churches that abuse tell their honest hearted parishioners that they must continue to follow the teachings of the God ordained pastor…or suffer illness and early death…if they leave the flock. A hallmark of a cult is the public ridicule and singling out of people in the congregation if they are even slightly thought to have a different idea that the leader. Fear of God…not favor of the Creator…is the hallmark of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Cult leaders demand the obeisance of all of the groups members. This slavish servitude often extends to whether or not a member of the group is approved to purchase a new automobile or is able to go on vacation.
Sexual abuse is found in cultish churches on a regular basis. When you have groomed a group of people to believe that every word that you speak is as if God was speaking to them…the crossing of sexual boundaries happens often.
Churches that abuse are closed societies. When all of your friends are subservient to the same perverse doctrine that you are…it is extremely difficult to see the forest for the trees. Many have been inextricably hurt by abuse and mind control and brain washing. If you are told enough times that you are no good…you begin to believe it. If you are abused enough times your entire physical and mental structure will suffer damage. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and nightmares and depression and nervous breakdown…are suffered by many.
Mental illness is attributed to demons or the devil in churches that abuse. Pop psychological dribble is applied to a person that is ill. Since their mental illness has a physical basis in them…the approach of Norman Vincent Peale’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking, is not affective in wellness of people that need a trained clinician and the appropriate medication.