Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Worst Abuse?

When considering the different kinds of abuse, what is the worst?

There is physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, and spiritual to name a few.

I've heard the abused say that physical abuse is bad, but emotional or sexual abuse are worse. The say the reason is because physical abuse damage the body, but emotional and sexual abuse damage the soul. And this damage makes it hard to connect with other people.

I also have read about spiritual abuse. One woman who was abused by a pastor was told that she needed to have faith. When "they" told her this her heart sank. She wrote that she couldn't have faith because the part of her that was made to have faith had been destroyed.

Remembering what I do about this woman and coupling it with what I read in Carolyn Jessop's book, "Escape" (read previous post), I've come to a conclusion. Spiritual abuse is the worst of all because it can warp, destroy, or otherwise damage the part of us that connects us to our Creator.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Example: a cult calling bitter waters sweet

I have just finished a book called "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop.

I highly recommend it as an example of the bitter doctrines of men being held up as revelation from God.

But a word of caution. If you are coming out of a very abusive situation and are easily triggered, you may want to wait and heal a bit more before you read this book.

Carolyn grew up in the FLDS (the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), a radical offshoot of the Mormon Church. This group practices polygamy, which is the practice of men taking multiple wives.
Carolyn became the fourth wife of Merril Jessop who proved to be an abusive man.
Rather than go into the entire story, I'd recommend that you read it yourself. But I want to pull something out from my reading of it that I feel pertains to this blog.

The women in the abusive home described by Carolyn dealt with a great deal of psychological abuse from their husband either towards themselves or towards their children. They were also in a nearly daily battle with the other wives for dominance over each other. Sadly, their religion did not offer them any justice or peace. Since their husband was the "priest" of their home, the wives were ordered to support and align themselves with him no matter what. A woman was never supposed to tell her husband no, for anything, no matter how abusive or inconsiderate his demand was. If a wife struggled with any anger or resentment, she was told to "keep sweet". She was also accused of not being spiritual enough or worthy of the Kingdom of God if she admitted she struggled with any kind of bitterness.

Thankfully, Carolyn did finally escape from the situation as the title of her book suggests.
And she later met a wonderful Jewish man named Brian who treated her with respect and as an equal.
He invited her to his synagogue where she learned a little about his faith.
About this she says on page 400 of her book, "It was interesting to me, but at the moment I'm not in the market for another God."

The bitter waters poured out on her by her religion and her husband has given her an aversion to thinking about finding another religion. And after reading her book, I can't say that I blame her.
Carolyn states in her book that she suffers from PTSD from time to time from the terrible damage done to her in the past by her husband and her religion. She is still in the process of healing. And I understand that it will take time before she can again think about her Creator and her relationship with Him.

My best wishes go out to her as she continues to sort out her life. She has given hope to others involved in FLDS. She has given hope to all that read her story that they too can escape from the clutches of such a bitter religion and lifestyle. My hope for her and all others struggling in the aftermath of such devastation is that they can find TRUE sweetness rather than the ugly bitterness put forth by controlling men who lie and call it sweet.