In the House of Friends: Understand and Healing from Spiritual Abuse in the Christian Church.
Cults, spiritual abuse, religious trauma. We might think of things that happen in books or only in extreme circumstances, but Ken Garrett presents a very cogent explanation of what it looks like when this shows up in churches and denominations we might not expect it to. First we must redefine “cult” from a deviant group with an unorthodox or heretical belief system, to a situation (in the book a church, but could also be a political organization, family, or even psychotherapy!) where a leader manipulates those with less power using controlling or coercive tactics. “Spiritual abuse” may be a more digestible term. Garrett shares his personal story of his family’s involvement in a cultish but theologically normative church, and the damage it inflicted on his family. This book is very important for pastors, counselors, or leaders who will likely be providing spiritual care to those fleeing such situations, because they need to be educated on what the abusive power dynamics look like. However, it is also important for anyone who has experienced trauma occurring in a situation with a manipulative, controlling other. The book is engaging, informative, and a fast read. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking to understand the danger of narcissism in leaders, thought control, psychological manipulation, or religious trauma.
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Learn more about spiritual abuse in the forum that the author himself founded