Top Resources for Spiritual Abuse and Cults

When I was in a cult, I ignored anything with the word “cult” in the title; I thought it didn’t apply to me. However, as soon as my cult broke apart, I eagerly sought resources on the topic of spiritual abuse.

Through trial-and-error and much Googling I found websites, books, and organizations which met my need for knowledge and helped me make sense of the last twenty-five years. Below, I have listed the ones I found most helpful.

I will also post this to a “Resources” tab on this blog and update it regularly.

Please add your own suggestions in the “Comments” section below.

Websites and Clearinghouses:

1.)    Provender http://pureprovender.blogspot.com/

Groups/Organizations Who Deal with Spiritual Abuse in Some Capacity:

1.)    Wellspring Retreat Center, Albany, Ohio http://wellspringretreat.org/

2.)    Hope for the Heart, Plano, Texas http://www.hopefortheheart.org/

3.)    Clergy Recovery Network, Joplin, Montana http://www.clergyrecovery.com/

4.)    Christian Recovery International http://www.christianrecovery.com/ and especially Spiritual Abuse Recovery Resources http://www.spiritualabuse.com/

Books on Spiritual Abuse:

1.)    Churches that Abuse: Help for Those Hurt by Legalism and Authoritarian Leadership by Ronald Enroth (this book is available for free online here)

2.)    Toxic Faith by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton

3.)    The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson

4.)    Twisted Scriptures by Mary Chrnalogar

5.)    Biblical Counseling Key on Spiritual Abuse by June Hunt (Available through Hope for the Heart Website)

The Psychology of Spiritual Abuse:

1.)    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV), the section on personality disorders helps explain numerous cult leaders.

Spiritual abusers often appear as wolves in sheep’s clothing. It takes wisdom to discern truth from error. These resources can help.

2.)    The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in an Age of Entitlement by Jean M. Twenge

3.)    Biblical Counseling Key on Manipulation by June Hunt (Available through the Hope for the Heart website)

4.)    Biblical Counseling Key on Co-Dependency by June Hunt (Available through the Hope for the Heart website)

5.)    The Heresy of Mind Control by Stephen Martin

6.)    The High Cost of High Control by Tim Kimmel

Recovery from Spiritual Abuse:

1.)    Recovering from Churches that Abuse by Ronald Enroth (this book is available for free online here)

2.)    Soul Repair: Rebuilding Your Spiritual Life by Jeff VanVonderen

3.)    Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experiences by Ken Blue

4.)    More Jesus, Less Religion: Moving from Rules to Relationship by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton

5.)    To Be Told: Know Your Story, Shape Your Future by Dan Allender

6.)    Tired of Trying to Measure Up by Jeff VanVonderen

Healthy Spiritual Leadership:

1.)    Leading with a Limp by Dan Allender

2.)    Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders

3.)    Spiritual Authority by Hal Miller (an article @ http://www.home-church.org/scc/authority.html )

4.)    The Pastor as Minor Poet by M. Craig Barnes

5.)    Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch

6.)    Care of Souls: Revisioning Christian Nurture and Counsel by David G. Benner

Healthy Spirituality and Relationships:

1.)    Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

2.)    Families Where Grace is in Place by Jeff VanVonderen

3.)    The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero

4.)    The Grace Awakening by Charles Swindoll

5.)    What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey

6.)    You Are Special by Max Lucado (Children’s book, but good for adults, too)

7.)    The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason

8.)    Understanding Who You Are by Larry Crabb

9.)    Understanding People: Why We Long for Relationship by Larry Crabb

10.) The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

11.) The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

Healthy Spiritual Doctrine:

1.)    A Survey of Bible Doctrine by Charles Ryrie

2.)    Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer

Fiction Novels that Reflect Spiritual Abuse:

1.)    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Protestant)

2.)    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (Catholic)

4 comments on “Top Resources for Spiritual Abuse and Cults

  1. The “Wounded by Shame, Healed by Grace” CD series by Jeff VanVonderen is a resource I would recommend.

  2. I would also recommend the weekend workshops for former members put on by the International Cultic Studies Assocation. They are a good opportunity to educate yourself about the dynamics in high control groups and to connect with others who have also experienced those dynamics in person.

    • You’re right, Jessica. I just removed it. I had changed it on my “Resources” page and then deleted it without realizing it was still on this post. Good catch. Thanks!

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