Stephen Smith graduated with distinction from Taylor University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in History. He graduated with honors from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2012 with a Master of Theology (Th.M.), majoring in Media Arts in Ministry.
Steve grew up in a small church in southern Maine which became isolated and controlling. In 1997, his twin brother left the church and was shunned. Steve remained in the church and became an assistant to the pastor. In 2008 Steve entered seminary in Dallas, and in 2010 he grew concerned about the nature of leadership in his home church. Shortly thereafter, his pastor was hospitalized and the church recognized that they had been spiritually abused. A church consulting agency helped the remaining leadership make the decision to close the church and send people to healthy churches in the community. Steve reconciled with his twin brother and started to research about spiritual abuse. His summative paper at Dallas Seminary was on the nature of spiritual authority. His home church no longer exists.
Because of his own painful background in a legalistic and controlling church, Steve is passionate about the topic of spiritual abuse and wants to help other people to recognize healthy and unhealthy spiritual authority based upon biblical principles.
Steve has been interviewed by reporters from the Texas Monthly and al-Jazeera America on the topic of cults.
Cult leaders dislike his blog. They have called Steve–among other things–a seared-conscience liar, a wicked wolf, a dog, a serpent, the sword of Saul slaying the priests at Nob, an Edomite snared by seduction, carnal, glorying in his shame, having a poisoned mind, a “froward man” who soweth strife, a territorial bear robbed of his whelp as the flames of hell animate his heart [not sure what that means, but it sounds unflattering], bearing the fingerprints of the Devil’s handiwork, a servant of corruption, a false teacher, a false prophet, a fool, drunken in a disgraceful intoxication of a counterfeit salvation, and “careless” because he “doesn’t care about God.” So he must be doing something right.
He lives with his wife and son in Columbus, Ohio.
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org