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POLL: Have you been spiritually abused?

This weekend Karen Wanjico will lead a workshop on recovering from spiritual abuse.

She says spiritual abuse is when authoritarian religious groups use power and control to instill fear and guilt into worshipers, manipulating them to behave a certain way.

Similar to domestic abuse, if victims don’t deal with the trauma, Wanjico said, it can damage one’s mental health, relationships and world view.

The Rev. Paul Rodkey, of Bethany Presbyterian Church, said spiritual abuse takes many forms, and said he's seen many victims.

“I think one of the realities is that we don’t have ways in our culture to deal with toxic spiritual stuff and because of that, pain is allowed to maintain for far too long,” said the Rev. Paul Rodkey of Bethany Presbyterian. “In my career I don’t know how many hundreds of people have come in who have been deeply wounded by the Christian church, usually by the narrow-minded, judgmentalness of it … it’s like domestic violence abusers, same dynamic: ‘I love you, but I’ve got to beat you.’ The theology of oppression is somehow an example of Jesus, really?”

Readers, would you say you're a victim of spiritual abuse?

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.

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One comment

  1. Of those of you who said yes – I’m curious what denomination you felt abuse in?

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