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Members are taught that only God is to handle situations in which leadership may have done wrong leaving the leadership unaccountable.Spiritual abuse is also the misuse of a position of power, leadership, or influence to further the selfish interests of someone other than the individual who needs help.Spiritual abuse includes, but is not limited to mind-control, thought reform, coercion, manipulation, deception, legalism, authoritarianism, guilt trips, judgementalism/”Phariseeism”, holier-than-though attitude, and a “we are right and everyone else is wrong” attitude.Spiritual abuse is often done in the name of proclaiming the ‘truth’.Churches that abuse promote extra-biblical rules and standards and equate them as doctrine or at least as coming from God, with your salvation or spirituality in jeopardy if they aren’t followed.Trivial matters are brought to attention such as the way one dressed or styles his/her hair, the music one listens to, the clothes one wears, etc.

Churches that abuse often focus on the penalty for sin.Victims are often depressed about their inability to live up to those rules and standards, worried that they aren’t pleasing the Lord, and frustrated that they keep sinning.Victims often feel that they aren’t good enough and not able to live up to the expectations.They communicate the Lord as a cosmic dictator or harsh taskmaster, eagerly waiting for you to make a mistake so that he can “chasten” you.A friend once told me that God was her “cosmic kill-joy”.

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