23 Comments

About

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 Smith, author of Liberty for CaptivesSteve 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 libertyforcaptives@gmail.com

 

23 comments on “About

  1. Your insights into the Wells Church are very well written.

  2. Steve, I just realized that this was your blog. I don’t know why I didn’t make that connection before. Bless you brother for your wonderful work here. What a testimony to how the Lord can turn the despised and shamed thing into something for good.

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Lisa. You inspire me. I love how you share the good things you have found online. You both create content and connect folks to content, and both are so important in the Christian community today. Keep it up!

  3. Steve, so happy for the way the Lord has worked in your life these past few years bringing healing. Looking forward to keeping up with your blog. Blessings on you and your family!

  4. Steve, I recently discovered your blog and it has been such an encouragement. I have come from a spiritually abusive background and in the past year have been trying to detox from all of the garbage I internalized for the majority of my life. Your posts have been tremendously helpful in this process. Thank you for sharing your story and giving hope to others who are hurting. God bless you!

  5. Let’s hear some more about the Church of Wells. Things have really been heating up in this little town.

    • I’ve heard about some of that, Chris. I live in Ohio, so have no first-hand knowledge at this point. I’ve followed the news stories and wrote some posts regarding shunning parents, how churches should relate to bad press, and distortions of scripture. I’m not sure what else to say specifically, since I’m not there. What news would you like to hear more about?

  6. I live in Wells and I am very concerned about having this cult in our town. I watched a news report where Sean Morris was talking and his facial expressions were very exaggerated. He is very scary acting person. Could you help us with any idea on how to get this group out of our town? They are wanting to be some kind of martyr. We just want them OUT!!!

    • I can understand your fear, Glenda. See my reply to your previous comment on “10 Questions a Church Should Ask When it Receives Negative Press.” My best recommendations remain the suggestions I make in the post “Ten Ways to Reach the Unreachable.” While the Church of Wells is “off” in both doctrine and practice, for the most part the members are sincere people who have been led astray as they seek to follow Christ. It is the leaders who continue to lead folks astray and are breaking families apart. There is no simple solution or quick fix, barring intervention by the authorities. But God is able to shine his light and dissolve groups like this in a matter of days, if he so chooses. I am praying to that end.

  7. i just heard about the church of wells on the news im concerned keep up the fight you have my prayers

  8. […] You may read HERE this parable, written by Stephen Smith, who 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. He has a fascinating story, which you can read HERE. […]

  9. Wow! And I thought people didn’t like me…

    • I could add more terms, now ;) Oh well. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how balanced or respectful you are; when you disagree with the status quo, it will infuriate those who have benefited from it. That said, I try to learn from every comment I receive, even the snarky or nasty ones. God spoke to Balaam through a donkey. Truth can come from the unlikeliest of sources. But folks who use these archaic terms as insults, that’s just over the top funny IMHO.

  10. I have just gotten out of an abusive cult here in Alberta, Canada. Unfortunately my wife is still in it.It has become a very difficult situation. Is there anything I can do to help my wife? She will listen only to her leader.

    • Hi Roland, I’m happy to hear that you’ve been able to leave your cult. A very courageous action and not at all easy to do. There is no magic bullet for helping someone in a cult come out of it, but there are a few things that might help. I’ve explained a few tips in a post here: http://libertyforcaptives.com/2012/06/10/ten-ways-to-reach-the-unreachable/ Staying connected with your wife is important, if it is safe to do so. There is also a book called “Coping with Cult Involvement” by Livia Bardin, which is the best book I’ve read about intervention and how to communicate with a loved one in a cult. Barb Orlowski, Ph.D., a fellow Canadian, has a website called “Church Exiters” and has written a book about spiritual abuse. She is not a cult expert per se, but you might find some of her insights helpful. Finally, Cindy Kunsman over at the blog “Under More Grace” is a cult expert. She may have some further tips for you. I know what it’s like to have a family divided by a cult, and I know it is not easy. I hope that your wife will recognize that when the Bible says that there is no mediator between God and people except the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5), that means that the group leader she follows cannot mediate her relationship with God. I pray that some of these resources will help you as you press on. Grace and peace, Steve

  11. I thank God for your blog. I just left an extreme Pentecostal church where the church government exists of only an Apostle.

  12. Thanks for this blog, Steve. There is a lot of good stuff here. I write some about spiritual abuse and recovery at http://www.watchtheshepherd.blogspot.com.

  13. […] of that thing once we have made our escape from the group.  This is a wonderful article by Stephen Smith discussing some of the good things that we may fear after leaving a […]

  14. Steve, I’m actually near you! (Less than 2 hours, and I once lived in Hilliard, and near OSU) I look forward to reading your blog. :) I do a parody twitter thing called “Calvinist Janeway” and blog at taylorjoyrecovers.wordpress.com and CalvinistJaneway.wordpress.com. I look forward to digging into your blog. :)

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