Posts Tagged ‘Trauma Survivors’

Steve Martin has written a fascinating book, The Heresy of Mind Control, for those in the helping fields and for all of us who have been or are being traumatized and enslaved by an abusive person (pastor, therapist, priest, husband, boyfriend, doctor, lawyer, employer, etc…) or an abusive system/group (totalitarian government, terrorists, church, employment…). Eventually I will post on this when I have my notes completed. For now though, here is Steve’s outline he sent me. You may purchase his book at his website: www.recognizeheresy.com


PS. There seems to be a problem with the formatting from the document Steve sent me to transferring it into this post. Please understand Steve had logical formatting and will tend to this little quirk when he has time. In the meantime, the info is there and one can learn more about his book by going to his site and better yet, by ordering it…





Recognizing Con Artists, Tyrants, and Spiritual Abusers

in Leadership


Stephen Martin


Just Suppose

Taken in Unawares

What is a Cult?

Terrorist Groups, Cults, and Abusive Relationships

In Unexpected Places

The Meeting Ground of Psychology, Sociology, and Theology

The Focus of this book: characteristics, not certain groups

Format: summary and paraphrase of criteria, various examples, Scripture passages that address and oppose these cultic practices.

Chapter 1

Thinking Inside the Box

(Milieu Control)

The Need for Outside Input – Overcoming Hindrances

Cunning Disregard

Have Nothing to Do With Them

“Don’t Listen”

Overcome Closed-Mindedness



Chapter 2

Illusion to Disillusion
(Mystical Manipulation)

Visions and Revelations


Euphoria-inducing Techniques

Power and the sense of Higher Purpose

Misguided Devotion

Submitting to Abuse

Submitting to Exploitation

Chapter 3

Getting Nowhere Fast

(The Demand for Purity)

Amount of Work and Commitment

Amount of your Ability – Works vs. Grace

Attributing Sin

“Reach Maturity Now”

Man-Made Rules for Escaping Impurity

Chapter 4

Vocal Self-Degradation

(The Cult of Confession)

A Misused Bible Verse

“Everyone Else is Doing It”

No-win Situations

No  Privacy

No Restoration

No Encouragement

Demon Labels

Misplaced  Accountability

Restoring Self-Esteem

Chapter 5

Thou Shalt Not Question
(The “Sacred Science”)

The Fear to Disagree and to Criticize

The Power of Charisma

Freedom to Doubt

Consequences of Differing

Fear to Speak Out

The Slant on Slander

Dealing with the Wrongs of Leaders

What about Obedience and Respect?

Why Question and Doubt?

Chapter 6

The Language of Nonthought

(Loading the Language)

Shut out the Truth & Alienate from Outsiders

Create Guilt to Suppress Thought

Create Guilt to produce Dependence

Emphasize Agreement & Unity more than Truth

Control of Behavior

To Label, Hurt, Judge and Condemn

Manipulating the Bible

The Remaining Wounds from Loaded Language

Chapter 7

Fitting the Rigid Mold

(Doctrine Over Person)

Freedom to Be Ourselves

The Remolding Process

Your Feelings

Your History

Your Health

Your Experiences and Circumstances

Predictions that Fail

Denial and Suppression

Narrowing the Playing Field

Different Needs, Different Treatments

Leading by Gentleness

The Priority of Human Well-Being

Chapter 8

The Elitists

(The Dispensing of Existence)

What About Christianity Itself?

We vs. They

Is Salvation Found in a Group?

The Same Claims of the “Only Ones”


From Control to Freedom




Comments on Visions



Appendix 2

Therapeutic Confessions


Appendix 3

Pros and Cons of an Accountability Partner



Other comments:

Appendix 4

What Is Faith?



Appendix 5

How will God deal with those who have never heard about Jesus?


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This is who Jesus says I am… This is who the Bible says I am… What say you?

…And, are half of His precious human creation to continue to be harassed, demeaned and oppressed by you and the men you train?

I pray to God that you and “your men” fall on your knees, repent hard and heavy, and answer, “No more. The abuse of God’s precious women stops here, and it stops now, in the name of Christ, Amen!”

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The following is an account from Conversations At the Edge by a Former Mars Hill Member. It is sadly very telling and very indicative of the kinds of abuse reported repeatedly by members and mostly former members of MHC.

109 11/11/06 4:57 PM Comment Link

I am also an “ex” member of Mars Hill church. I have been so harmed by this church and by Mark; I have been trying to reach out and get help for how spiritually crippled I have become, so I posted the below letter yesterday on Steve Camp’s blog. Please, please remember me in your prayers. I am obese, and have suffered such shame and humiliation at Mars Hill, that it’s a wonder I have the courage to leave my house at all now. Whoever wrote above that the church is WAY focused on the physical beauty of women is SPOT ON. What is so discouraging to me is that it wasn’t just the church leadership who treated me like a leper (including, btw, Mark’s wife, who is very beautiful), but many of the congregation as well – this is what alarms me, as I realize more and more how many “little Driscolls” are now being raised up there (and sadly, as the other ex member posted, the worst of them are women!). I have tried attending 6 small groups for the church and at every single one was very blatantly shunned for my “gluttony.” The arrogance and rudeness of the leadership is shocking. Ironically, Mark himself was always quite kind to me, way back in the day when the church was young.
Dear Steve,

Thank you for this post about Mark Driscoll. You raise important points while maintaining a position of grace, which is very instructive to me in my current situation.

I have been a member at Mars Hill church from almost the beginning, and it is time to say my goodbye. I am concerned about several things. Mark has more power than any one pastor should be given. I love him, however over the years I have watched my church evolve into the Church of Mark. Though Mark would never intend this, the church is no longer focused on Jesus of the Bible. It is focused on Mark’s Jesus, Mark’s anecdotes, Mark’s wife, Mark’s children, Mark’s truth.

He has stated several times from the pulpit and on the Member’s forum that though he is not opposed per se to having another pastor preach regularly at Mars Hill, he just has never met another pastor who could fill his shoes. Likewise, a few years ago he told us that he believes himself to be a chosen “apostle.” I believe this is very dangerous: both to a pastor and to a congregation. This thinking inevitably inspires a leader who is larger than life, a Super-Pastor, the vessel of all Truth – while creating a congregation who are unable to think without that pastor’s guidance. In this way, the pastor eventually transcends the congregation’s regard for the Holy Spirit in ministering.

Mark used to regularly, publicly confess to struggling with humility, grace, and legalistic perfectionism. The past few years, I have slowly watched him losing the battle. It grieves me more than I can say. This week, as you are probably aware, Mark’s official response to the Haggard situation was to point out adultery can happen when a pastor’s wife does not keep up her physical appearance and sexual availability. Perhaps this idea has merit and can be explored, but to broach this as a public response to the current scandal displays a woeful and whimsical lack of grace and tact.

Also this last week, Mars Hill laid off several employees due to financial troubles which Mark sternly attributes to an unfaithful congregation. I will not air the dirty laundry in more detail, but I decided once and for all to leave my church when we were informed that they will be releasing a list of members who are not “faithful” givers, in order that they be rebuked within their community groups and come to repentance. A problem with that is that many of us give in cash, myself included, because we do not believe in getting credit from any man or group for our tithes. Also, many who are unable to give substantially give instead in service. Whether they need to come to repentance or not, this issue should remain between Jesus and the believer.

I believe these things are happening because Mark feels extremely empowered by his emerging renown. He is increasingly presenting himself in an unconventional and controversial way in order to further his name. Though he intends to further Christ’s name, the one who is getting the attention here is Mark. Ultimately this is at the expense and detriment of his church body, and it has intensified into a steady crescendo the more famous he becomes.

I believe I can answer your question about what Mark would say if a member were to approach him and say “I don’t like your church, therefore I am going to start my own.” He would say, “Get out, we don’t want your kind here, because we only want those who love Jesus.” In other words, all of us as members know that the ultimate blasphemy is to disagree with Mark. I have seen so many members ousted for simply asking questions, weighing his theology, and inquiring about his often-harsh deliveries — they have been ousted for “not loving Jesus.” We know better than to question Mark, ever. Any question is considered “causing division.” This is unfortunate, given that Mark will no longer talk to members. Years ago, Mark would clear out an afternoon to address the concerns of any one of his flock. Now, even his old friends cannot reach him. Everything is intercepted by assistants and never gets to him. He has become like Elvis: sheltered, a myth, legendary, the King of modern Christendom.

I will close by saying that Mark’s condemnation of any truth but his own has left me spiritually crippled. I now realize that Mark’s Truth, instead of feeding me, has eaten me from the inside out. When there is no room for any reality but one very strong leader’s, when your only choice is to follow him completely, all or nothing, you begin to hear only his voice. After a few years of being required, as a member, to take Mark’s word for everything, I cannot open my Bible. I cannot open it without automatically thinking “I need Mark to tell me what this means.” I cannot open it without seeing a Jesus there who is angry, harsh, who wants to punish me because I don’t love Him enough. The grace and love that I once rejoiced in has slowly been replaced by a solid conviction of condemnation, of never bearing enough fruit to possibly be acceptable to Jesus.

Mark is not a bad man. He is actually a very kind person – in person. But when he gets on that stage, Mark the hipster, the pied piper of all Truth, takes over. Please pray for him, for the congregation of my church, and finally for me. I love Mark as my brother, but I have been very profoundly injured by him. I do believe that God has the power and desire to heal me from the damage that Mark has inadvertently done to me, and I pray for that day to come soon.

pulled 2/9/09

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Re-Victimizing the Victims: 1/3-1/4 of all women have been abused

I apologize for the caps–I was just floored when I read this!




Changed by Jesus
– by Mars Hill Church on Friday, March 27th, 2009
“Men sinned against me and abused their authority over me”

In the post on their site, a woman writes about having been sexually abused by her father and grandfather, then having been betrayed by two husbands prior to marrying her current husband. She states that she felt “so much resistance” to “allowing my husband to lead our home,” and that she was “unwilling to submit in any matter, from major financial decisions to simply where to put a lamp in the room.” This would be the epitome of a ‘sinful, rebellious woman’ at MHC.

Human beings are made in the image of God “male and female, he created them,” and in Galatians 3:28 we are told, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Meaning, among other things, ethnicity, gender and status are no longer to be issues of value or reasons for demeaning or lording it over one human by another. But at MHC, from what I can tell, gender (specifically, ‘woman submit!’) becomes the second primary biblical focus next to submission to the elders, especially to the lead elder, Mark Driscoll. Are those the two greatest teachings in all of Scripture? “Woman Submit” and “Obey Your Elders”? The two greatest commands in the New Testament? I remember Jesus saying that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and the second greatest is to love our neighbor as ourself…

People function best when not in bondage, slavery, or subservience to another. A survivor of abuse is especially vulnerable to the one down position, to having someone exercise, dictate, demand power over her. Victims, more than almost anything else, need to be empowered, to have their autonomy restored and properly respected. They need to know that their boundaries are their own, where they begin and end, what is inside their fence and what is outside. (See Dr. Henry Cloud’s excellent book, Boundaries). The last thing they need is to be strong-armed (under the guise of “loving leadership”) into a powerless position (in marriage no less) at the threat of losing their relationship with Jesus if they do not bow the knee to the men in their lives. I see this as revictimizing the victim. Oh, she may talk herself into buying it in order to reduce the cognitive and emotional dissonance she no doubt battles with… but I believe that inside, her spirit dies a little more each day, until the flicker goes out, and all that is left is a shell of who she could have been, of who God has created her to be.

The woman continues to describe “a long trail of men who abused me, used me, abandoned me, and betrayed me.” She states, ““By the time I began my new marriage, there was nothing in me that had the desire or ability to ‘submit.’ It went against my very being.” Yes, of course it did, and for good reason too. This was not the “sin and rebellion” MHC and Driscoll will no doubt convince her it is, rather it was a wounded human being coming to life again, saying, “Never again! I will never be rendered powerless by a human being again!” This is a victim becoming a survivor. This is not a woman rebelling against God and/or her husband. As she heals, she and her husband may learn to submit one to another, but she will never be forced, manipulated, coerced (no, not even by bad theology and the demand of the “Christian” men in her life) into an unhealthy, unbiblical form of submission.

“Although it looked like this marriage was different, and my husband was honorable, I maintained as much control as I could.” To feel safe, we need to have a certain measure of “self-efficacy,” a measure of power and confidence to make choices, to accomplish things, and to do what we need to do to create the right amount of safety in our lives. This is not sin, nor is it rebellion. Yes, as Christians we rely on God for this too, but even there, it’s a partnership. God never tells us to turn down all of our protective defense mechanisms. Self preservation is not sin. If you believe it is, walk down a dark alley in some dangerous part of town in the wee hours and let some gang approach you and do what they will.

She goes on, “Deep down, I truly desired to allow my husband to lead us and for the burden of leadership to be lifted off of me. I am very thankful that my husband did not allow me to manipulate him into doing my will, even though I tried. He influenced me in a loving way, and I never felt overpowered by him. Equally, God never overpowered me or forced me. It seemed there was always a gentle beckoning that was filled with grace, even in my stubbornness.”

I know she is sincere, but it breaks my heart to read this. MHC has made an entire theology out of “headship, leadership, wives’ submission, husbands’ rule.” If they took all of Scripture with all of Scripture instead of elevating a cherry-picked handful of their pet verses above everything else, the feel of the marriages they promote would be that of more Christ-like stuff. So for her to take any lead whatsoever is “the burden of leadership” and her “manipulating her husband into doing her will.” She then quotes the MHC party line regarding her being “influenced” to submit, not being “overpowered” and she then ties that into God’s work–who can then argue with that?

I’m sorry, dear woman, but Jesus’ “gentle beckoning, filled with grace” would be to lift you up to stand beside your husband and to exercise all of the gifts He put in you. Look at the way Jesus was with women—a scandal in those days for sure. He never lorded it over them or demanded submission from them. He doesn’t do that with any of us. He loves us and we surrender to Him out of love. Likewise, as Eph 5 states, husands love their wives, give up their lives for them in a sense, then the wife yields to him IN HIS GIVING UP HIMSELF FOR HER. The whole thing is predicated upon and preceded by, “SUBMIT ONE TO ANOTHER…”

I realize at times Driscoll appears to address this, but I think he does so in passing and misses the spirit of it because more often I pick up on his adamence about submission and obedience by women to men, and by laity to leadership. But who does Mark submit to? I ask this especially in light of the By-Laws of 2007.

This poor woman then goes on to say, “My new ability to submit to my husband comes from a supernatural power. It happens only when I submit to my heavenly Father.” Voila. It appears to me that this woman has been harangued into believing that the primary evidence of her submission to our loving God is her submission to another human being. If Driscoll and the other men in her life do not see what they consider to be the proper amount of submission in her, will they claim she is a sinful woman? What about when the members do not see submission in Mark?

“When I keep my eyes on Jesus, when my heart yearns for oneness with him, my heart willingly follows my husband.” Dear one, when your husband keeps HIS “eyes on Jesus” when HIS “heart yearns for oneness with Him” does HIS “heart willingly follow” you too? SUBMIT ONE TO ANOTHER. These men who insist on the lead, believing as Mark teaches that women are more easily deceived and that the men are rightfully in charge and have the final word, these men 1) do not seem to be encouraged to grow in humility and Christ-likeness (their leader on stage as their example appears to reveal this in: pride, arrogance, cruelty, abuse, control, mockery, offensive language, etc), and 2) they seem to miss out on the benefit of so much intuitonal wisdom along with various gifts of analytical assessment that women have. Also, when a husband engages in this process of soul-murder (killing another’s spirit, crushing their spirit, nullifying their true personality), he loses the woman he fell in love with and married. He is witness to the slow cooling of the light in her eyes, and the deadening of her heart.

And the grand finale–which I suspect is the goal of all of this– “I have learned that when I rebel against submission I am a hindrance to God’s glory and to my husband’s God-given responsibility to lead our family. It is not about some earthly man controlling me…it is about honoring God and his design for marriage and biblical womanhood.”

“When she rebels against submission she is a hindrance to God’s glory” ? Is all submission healthy, God ordained, and for his glory? Some submission is abusive, such as a wife submitting to an abusive husband. But barring that scenario, which tragically is not uncommon in the Christian community, the expectation that all of her desires, dreams, goals, asperations must be submitted to a man rather than to Christ, could very well leave the women at MHC in a catch 22: either be true to the God who calls you forth to freedom (Gal 5:1) and being who he made you to be (Ps 139) and therefore being considered a HINDRANCE TO GOD’S GLORY AS YOU REBEL, or submit to whatever a man dictates to you, a man whom you married as a companion not a god, and let this mandated role be your ball and chain, slowly killing your spirit, and receive the accolades of authoritarian leaders for being such a sweet, quiet spirited, gentle, submissive woman.

This is then followed on the Mars Hill Site by, “Learn more about biblical marriage. Listen to Pastor Mark’s recent sermons about Marriage and Women and Marriage and Men,” and THEY offer “physical or sexual abuse counseling.”

The quotes from the story above on the Mars Hill Site was from the full story they posted at:

I grieve for this woman. I grieve for such a system. I grieve for those who will innocently receive their method of “counseling.” I grieve for Mark and his wife, and I grieve for all the other women being wounded by this system and for their husbands being molded and shaped into something God most certainly did not design.

I am not arguing against Eph 5, but the mishandling of it, the abuse of it. I love my husband and give myself up for him, and he loves me and gives himself up for me. My husband submits to me (gasp!), and I submit to him (Eph 5:21), —we do THIS “out of reverence for Christ.” We have been married happily, joyfully, a long, long time. I thank God that in my 20s I did not get trapped in a controlling, legalistic, authoritarian church system when I was so vulnerable, fresh out of my own victimization, and trying to figure out who I was as a human being, a woman, a survivor, a new wife, and a new Christian. I wonder what the fall-out is going to be for these women at MHC when they reach their mid 30s and the emptiness held at bay by little children and full schedules and demanding church duties begins to engulf them when they realize: they never developed who they were really created to be, exercising all the gifts the Lord gave them for His glory and their pleasure.

If you have been spiritually abused, the site listed below is a clearing house for many internet sites covering spiritual abuse:


One site I’ve recently discovered (and am very impressed with) which has information and articles about Domestic Violence, Sexual Abuse, Spiritual / Church / Pastor Abuse and more is:


If you have been victimized by a professional (therapist, priest/pastor, doctor, lawyer, instructor, etc), an excellent forum with TONS of resources is:


My next post will be an example of an MHC “wife/mother” who feels the emptiness now, while trying to talk herself out of it.

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