Tag Archive | cults

Book Review of “Broken Trust” by F. Remy Diederich

Editor’s Note: I rarely endorse books. This is an exception. Remy sent me an earlier draft of his book and requested feedback. I made some edits, but mostly I just rejoiced that he had written such a book. I believe it is the most helpful resource about spiritual abuse that has yet been written. The […]

30 Signs of Legalism: A Checklist

The average legalist does not know that he or she is legalistic. I didn’t. I thought I was just following God’s Word. I didn’t think I was a Pharisee; I thought I was righteous. Legalism is rightly considered a disease in the church, but most of its sufferers mistake its symptoms for holiness. They think […]

When Your Abusive Pastor Dies

When you hear that your abusive former pastor is dead, the news will not bring you peace and it is unlikely to bring you joy. I am unhappy to say this but it’s true nevertheless and so there it is. What was broken in life cannot be mended by death. Death has no power to […]

Recovering from Spiritual Abuse: Fearing the Good

“What would you do if you had no fear? Sometimes we think we are driven by our wants — when too often we are driven by our fears.” – Ann Voskamp I started flossing again. For the last couple of years it’s been hit or miss, mostly because I had a visceral reaction to the […]

12 Things God Doesn’t Do

The most devastating consequence of spiritual abuse is a marred image of God. If your church or pastor practices spiritual abuse, chances are that your view of God is filtered through twisted scriptures and an untrue characterization of what God is like. In these situations, your view of God probably looks a lot like how […]

Seven Signs You’re in a Cult

A June 18 article published in The Atlantic — “The Seven Signs You’re in a Cult” — helps to illustrate symptoms of cult behavior. It is well-written and accurately portrays the codependency and progressive extremism of cults. Here are eight reasons why I think this article is worth your time: It portrays well the narcissism and […]

8 Ways to Distinguish Gossip from Criticism

Recent news reports about Christian leaders have raised an interesting debate: what is gossip, and what is legitimate criticism or concern? Does a Christian leader have the right to fire employees over what he or she considers gossip? And what about all the cult leaders or spiritually abusive leaders who define any criticism of their […]

Top 12 Blog Posts

Two years ago I started this blog in order to confront spiritual abuse with grace and truth. I wasn’t sure there was anyone outside of my immediate family and a small circle of friends who would read the posts. I wasn’t sure how wide the problem was. Two years later, I understand better that spiritual […]

Mind Games of Abusers: When Words Have No Meaning

If you dialogue with a spiritually abusive leader or cult member, prepare to enter a mind warp. The rules of sense, reason, and accepted definitions go out the window and are replaced with jargon, double-speak, and circular logic. You step out of reality and stare into a funhouse mirror. Cult leaders make pronouncements which they […]

Checklist: 55 Attributes of a Spiritually Abusive Leader

To recognize a spiritually abusive leader, first we have to define spiritual abuse. Jeff VanVonderen, co-author of the classic book The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, defines spiritual abuse like this: “Spiritual abuse occurs when someone in a position of spiritual authority–the purpose of which is to ‘come underneath’ and serve, build, equip and make God’s […]