Breaking My Silence: My Story of Religious Abuse

For the past year and a half, I’ve written a blog about escaping what my therapist and I ha

    For the past year and a half, I’ve written a blog about escaping what my therapist and I have called a cult; the tedious and emotional recovery; and then the admittance of the diagnosis my therapist gave me: depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (all from my cult experience). Yesterday, Robin Morgan wrote a wonderful piece of satire on the Women’s Media Center blog called Exclusive: Faith-healing: A Modest Proposal on Religious Fundamentalism where she proceeded to examine fudmantalists against the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). What’s funny is that this piece of satire struck home with me, a recovering fundamentalist, who has been diagnosed with mental conditions based on my seven year long participation in a fundamentalist cult. Morgan’s joke was more serious to me than I wanted to admit. Upon further studying, though, I began speaking with college professors who were cult experts (some of whom were involved in very prominent cases and in communication with well-known, but now dead, cult leaders over the years) and talking to hundreds of people on the web asking them to share their personal stories. I’ve now started to consider this: perhaps my group and many others are so difficult to categorize (as cult, or new religious group) because they are so similar to the modern fundamentalist church. Maybe the modern-day cult is just your neighborhood fundamentalist church. And maybe that cult, or destructive group, or new religious group (pick a term, whatever term) with abusive teachings, public humilation, and totalitarian hierachical power structures has long been invading our politics, our schools and our doctors offices. Fundamentalist churches, often known as evangelical churches, are very common in America and globally. The only trouble? They look absolutely normal. They’re often not easy to spot from the outside, at least for people looking for an upbeat, contemporary place of worship with solid family values. Fundamentalist churches typically are very vague about their system of beliefs and sometimes they have very little accountability structure. They may be led by a preacher or pastor who has almost no one he has to report in to or be held responsible to for his words, teachings and his finances. Worse yet, sometimes this preacher or pastor has very little academic training and little understanding about historical and cultural norms in Biblical days (thus the homophobic rage that comes from those pulpits).  Read more here…

The Making of an Activist

Sometimes you get involved in something sort of by accident. My involvement in feminist activism and advocacy for spiritual abuse victims has been quite organic, evolving with time after seeing things happen all around me that I couldn’t sit by and watch.

I recently started researching Mercy Ministries after being prompted by a reader here. Subsequently, I’ve posted a page with information on Mercy Ministries and links to survivors websites. Groups like Mercy are incredibly destructive and harmful, but it’s often difficult for any abuse victims to speak against their abuser. Many abusers are well-liked and charasmatic and Mercy’s founder, Nancy Alcorn is very popular with the Evangelical crowd.

Feminist activism is a tough pill for some to swallow. Being a feminist is equivelant to being an ugly, raging man-hater. Most women have feminist tendencies, as I’ve noticed lately with the birth control battle and war on women that’s raging. Or as I like to call it, The Republican Witch Hunt.

If you are a feminist, or a feminist in the making, I’d like to leave you with a little Robin Morgan. Morgan and others founded WITCH: Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell. If you have time, watch “Sustaining the Activism.”