Monday, March 25, 2019

Thinking the Unthinkable: A Challenge for the Botkins

I thought about the Botkin daughters today – and it's approximately six weeks since I received their letter. As cognitive dissonance teaches us, all people find it uncomfortable when others believe unpleasant things about them, and it occurred to me that dissonance itself is something that I definitely share in common with these young women. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

In Remembrance and Honor of John and Halcyon Botkin

John and Halcyon Botkin are no longer with us on this side of the veil. They raised three sons and a daughter to carry on in their absence. They were proud members of Tulsa Christian Fellowship for many decades, and they raised their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. They were dearly loved by many.

I am grateful to those who have written to me, heartbroken and offended about Geoffrey Botkin's claims that he was raised in a Marxist home as he publicly repudiates his Christian upbringing. I am also grateful to those who worked to shield Halcyon Botkin from distress, as she was quite advanced in age during the time that her son claimed that his family of origin was something other than a God-believing, God-fearing home.  I am moved by those who contacted me to attest to the Christian witness of John and Halcyon Botkin, for it speaks powerfully to their good character and their love for God and family.

For those who have questions as to why their son Geoffrey has made so many claims to have been raised as a Marxist and in a family that did not attend church, I would suggest that you contact him directly. He teaches a doctrine that was once called multigenerational faithfulness, and it is heartbreaking to think that he would have any desire to deprive his own parents of the honor that they are due, in both life and death. 

Geoff Botkin talked much about his 200 Year Plan for his own descendants, but he didn't seem to show much honor to his own family of origin and their own fine heritage.


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Cognitive Biases and Cranio Rectal Inversion Index


Just a reminder that the purpose of this discussion aims at stimulating thought and self awareness as tools to help those in recovery from trauma learn how to make safer choices. To make the discussion a bit lighter, we've defined Cognitive Biases as “CranioRectal Inversions” (CRI).

There are more posts to come which will first be featured at No Longer Quivering where you might want to watch for them, and they'll eventually find their way back here. For now, here are the posts on the subject through 2018. This list is not comprehensive, nor is it organized in a particular manner, save that they are loosely organized by general type (social, attributional, etc.). There are at least this many more to come.

Zelophehad's Daughters

Originally appeared in 2010 at Quivering Daughters.com

An acquaintance of mine asked me what I knew of some of the ideas that neo-patriarchy had about unmarried women living alone. I explained that some sectors within patriarchy maintain that Numbers 30 requires unmarried adult women to have an assigned male overseer who is accountable for her and her affairs. Others in these circles maintain that all woman require a male as her a protector at all times to remain both spiritually and physically safe. Some actually extend this concept to support their idea that a woman who works outside the home (for a man other than father or husband) commits a form of adultery by serving the vision and efforts of another man.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Extremes in Postmodern Religious Addiction and the Childhood Roots of Victimization

Revisiting Imbalance.

Originally posted  27Feb12;  Reposted 25Aug12.
Updated with restored graphics 04Mar19


Lewis at Commandments of Men has written a post that's inspired me to write a bit more about imbalance found within spiritually abusive evangelical Christianity.

In January, I wrote a synopsis of the core emotional issues of childhood in a series of posts that lead to dysfunctional living.  (The series didn't, but the core emotional issues did!)  If we come through childhood and our very nature as children is not honored by our our parents (likely because of their own interrupted emotional growth), or if we suffer a great deal of trauma which may have nothing to do with our families, we tend to have problems in adulthood which surround these core emotional dilemmas. Children are valuable, vulnerable, imperfect, needy, and immature., and we carry all of these traits with of into adulthood to some extent, revisiting them from time to time. This is a normal occurrence in a healthy adult, but healthy adults don't remain in these states of recalling the sense of being childlike for very long.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Always Follow the Money

While I am loathe to give them any additional free advertising, given recent events, I believe what I saw there deserves some attention. (While revising old blog posts to remove a term to which the Botkin's objected, I happened to notice something interesting.) The link took me to their revamped website which features a slider – a ribbon of material at the top of the screen which automatically scrolls snippets of new content across it to catch the reader's attention. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Honest Questions for the Botkins

I still find myself shaking my head when I look at this letter that I received from the Botkins.

It elucidated several facts for me: people still remain ignorant of the manner in which spiritual abusers today manipulate Matthew 18, people still refer to this blog for all kinds of information, and if the daughters of Geoffrey Botkin actually wrote to me without prompting or coaching, I affirmed for myself that I didn't target them. I called out their father on his fringe behavior, his spin doctor habits, and 'new' aberrant teachings that he pieced together from things that he cherry picked from very old news.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Control and Misinformation that Toxic People Exert



My friend from across the pond put this on social media yesterday.  Too good to miss.



It reminds me of that quote that is attributed to Winston Churchill:
The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Pinocchio, Al Mohler, and Geoff Botkin

I don't know how this stuff happens. I'm deeply honored that my Jiminy Cricket meme has been featured right beside Christa Brown's comment about the new public relations move of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). It reminds me of that Judge Judy saying, “Pee on my shoe, then tell me it's raining.”   [I also don't know why the formatting is so crazy in this post.  I give up on it.  Please don't write to tell me.  I already know.]

The Right Side of History



An excerpt from Marshall's The Peril of Selective Inerrancy:

Today is a time of reckoning for Southern Baptists, as even Albert Mohler has observed. It seems like he is hastening to get toward the right side of history on sexual abuse — distancing himself from his colleague — even though he was a pawn in the larger conservative movement. His ambition blunted his theological perspicuity, and he changed his course for the sake of being acceptable to his sponsors. As a professor when he was a graduate student, I remember a different persona.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Spiritual Advice from Jiminy Cricket?

Yes, I drew this.
While trying to update the links on an old post concerning CJ Mahaney, I stumbled across an article published that same morning that declared that Al Mohler has apologized for standing by CJ Mahaney so staunchly when members of Sovereign Grace Ministries filed a class action suit against him for sexual abuse and coverups. The Gospel Coalition was quite vociferous in their support, and I'm told that they started deleting social media posts because their readers were so appalled. 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

A Botkin by Any Other Name....?


After almost ten years of faithful service, my MacBook may be granted retirement.  I'm toughing things out with an iPad until a replacement arrives next week.  The Google Blogger platform and the iPad don't interface well, and I'm weary of hunt and peck single hand typing and the frustrations of autocorrect that doesn't!  They prove to be a great hindrance as I aspire to meet my objectives as stated here.

In the interim, No Longer Quivering (NLQ) and Patheos expressed interest in hosting blog posts discussing why I moved all of my dated blog content into draft.  It all started with a letter and the man at my door.  My postman, Joseph, has been really considerate to my husband and me.  This past year in particular involved crutches, walkers, and a whole new lock on our lesser used post box because we couldn’t get the thing open.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Closed for RECONSTRUCTION (Ha, ha)

A dozen years ago when I began blogging, I hoped to bring a very specific message to a group of Christians about what must be one of the most unpopular topics on the planet.  Some call it spiritual abuse, while other disciplines describe the same dynamics as thought reform, undue influence, and the like, but it is really just describing different vantages on what the Apostle Paul called ‘the works of the flesh.’  Some people seem to suffer little, while others bear the teeth marks of the wolf, and those wounds always look the same.

As my friend Janet put it, I helped a good many people figure out what had happened to them by giving them the construct and language that they needed to describe the experience that they had in their church.  “I helped people figure out that they weren’t crazy!” 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

That Tricky Survivorship Bias and Recovery

Just a reminder that the purpose of this discussion aims at stimulating thought and self awareness as tools to help those in recovery from trauma learn how to make safer choices. To make the discussion a bit lighter, we've defined Cognitive Biases as “CranioRectal Inversions” (CRI).

This bias fascinates me because it has a direct impact on how many approach recovery from post cult trauma syndrome, as I believe that people make this common error in their assumptions. It is one of the many attribution biases – wrong assumptions due to informal logical errors that are often based on too little information and consideration of the wrong perspective on that information.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Reviewing Liking and Social Proof as Weapons of Influence

Just a reminder that the purpose of this discussion aims at stimulating thought and self awareness as tools to help those in recovery from trauma learn how to make safer choices. To make the discussion a bit lighter, we've defined Cognitive Biases as “CranioRectal Inversions” (CRI).

We've reviewed the effect that liking has on us, and we tend to comply with people that we like. Just to dig into this method of influence, lets consider some factors that manipulators use to persuade us with liking without our even realizing it:

Friday, October 27, 2017

Liking and Liked: More Attribution Biases that Merge Liking and Social Proof

Just a reminder that the purpose of this discussion aims at stimulating thought and self awareness as tools to help those in recovery from trauma learn how to make safer choices. To make the discussion a bit lighter, we've defined Cognitive Biases as “CranioRectal Inversions” (CRI).

The previous post detailed a few Attribution Biases that cause us to make errors based on our feelings more than sound reasoning, and we human beings naturally show a prejudice for those things that we already like. If we are good people who seek out other good people to accomplish good things, we don't tend to anticipate certain problems. This expectation intensifies when considering a religious leader because they should be experts in and practitioners of good ethics and morals. And if we seek them out, even apart from any kind of considerations of hierarchy or authority that might influence how we relate to them, we're likely to take for granted that they are ethical. We certainly would not seek out a person whom we didn't like.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

When the Attribution Bias Makes Things Seem More Desirable

Just a reminder that the purpose of this discussion aims at stimulating thought and self awareness as tools to help those in recovery from trauma learn how to make safer choices. To make the discussion a bit lighter, we've defined Cognitive Biases as “CranioRectal Inversions” (CRI).

In the context of spiritual abuse and how biases effect us, I thought of other instances that strike me as similar to the Cheerleader Effect but involve more of what is actually a type of Attribution Bias. (There's more to come about that bias in posts to come.) There are several subtypes of this type, but I see the effects of what we see, believe is available, and find desirable as a consequence as similar to some of the factors that may be in play in the Cheerleader Bias. We also can tend to be more open to considering owning the same things that they do because the association connotes the idea that those things are somehow better than equally good alternatives.

Monday, October 23, 2017

If I'm Never Ready, I Can at Least be Wise

I waited seven years after I walked away from my spiritually abusive Gothard/Quiverfull/Shepherding church before I wrote my first article, and it didn't name names. I started working on one about a year after I'd walked away, but I wasn't ready for the challenge yet. And let me tell you: naming names becomes much more intense and feels far more threatening. When the time came for me to name names, I did it, but I did so with knocking knees.

CranioRectal Inversions Cheering Us On (The Cheerleader Effect)

Just a reminder that the purpose of this discussion aims at stimulating thought and self awareness as tools to help those in recovery from trauma learn how to make safer choices. To make the discussion a bit lighter, we've defined Cognitive Biases as “CranioRectal Inversions” (CRI).

Another very human trait with which perspective can trick us is most commonly known as the Cheerleader Effect. Some of it owes to the way that we process visual information against contrasting elements in a field of view, but we also have deep psychological wiring that also affects how we interpret what we see. Some of that might also involve the suggestion that if a person is photographed with other people, they must have relationships which include activities that are enjoyable enough to wish to photograph. At the most simplistic level, people look more attractive to us when they are in a group with others. No one seems to know exactly why, but ongoing research continues to validate that the Cheerleader Effect influences all of us.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Misogynist Man from Mars on Patheos

I'm grateful for my relationship with No Longer Quivering (NLQ), a website founded by Vyckie Garrison and now overseen by Suzanne Titkemeyer and their support of Hillary McFarland's book, Quivering Daughters. A few years ago, NLQ joined the bloggers at Patheos, an interfaith website that features material that considers all sorts of belief systems including the non-religious. (I'm especially grateful for Richard Wade's thoughtful and respectful approach to his beliefs on his Patheos blog, the Friendly Atheist. He isn't what I consider a zealot who wants to make sport of others who disagree with him, and I find that refreshing.)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Optimism, Hardship, and Pathways to Peace

Continuing the consideration of cognitive bias of optimism as a coping mechanism, this installment continues from this most recent one, and the whole series of posts can be found HERE. It explores how I am reconsidering optimism to make it my friend as opposed to my foe by finding a healthy balance between too much optimism and a life only half lived. It is a part of a broader discussion of how those in recovery from trauma can make safer choices in their relationships.

The Serenity Prayer encourages us to sort out what we can realistically change from that over which we have no power to change. Critical to serenity, however, is acceptance of those things which we don't really like all that much. It confronts our tendency to create unrealistic fantasies about what we want the world to be – “how I would have it” – and encourages us to focus on those things that are well within our grasp to change for the better. Wasting hope and energy in exercises of futility do no good for anyone, and they drain us of the energy we need for more reasonable, achievable aspirations.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Getting Back to Biases (Self-Worth's Role in Optimism)

When I started this series of posts, I knew that it would be a deeply personal journey. I aspire to live up to and be accountable for what I learn, and I didn't think that I could take much more thought about optimism specifically, though I apparently think about it more often than not. For months, I've been ruminating on just how often I use a too glowing view of people and the world as a means of coping with the unpleasant aspects of life. I took some time off from the subject to do some soul searching, and I started to see many themes come together.
This post discusses the use of the cognitive bias of optimism as a coping mechanism, continued from Part I here. A whole series of posts continues HERE, exploring how I've aspired to make optimism my friend and not my foe. It is a part of a broader discussion of how those in recovery from trauma can make safer choices in their relationships.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Driving through the Gateways of the Mental Burqa

A few years ago, I wrote a post about the surreptitiously misogynistic film, Courageous. It was popular and hated, depending on whether you know anything about the Evangelical Christian subculture's cultic fringe movement that prompted it. The Baptist church that produced the film had an earlier success with a film called Fireproof, and a now defunct 'ministry to families' called Vision Forum tried to cash in and ride along with them. They used these and other films to sell a lifestyle – primarily to Christians who wanted to homeschool. Homeschooling became a gateway for this evolving, anachronistic belief system to introduce a host of other beliefs which weren't quite as wholesome as they appeared on screen. (Read more HERE.)

Gary Demar, My Confirmation Bias, and the Learning Curve

Below is a post that I wrote in January 2010. At the time, I was chewing on my own questions about whether I only saw what I wanted to see in some of the religious oriented organizations that we supported. Finding these discrepancies in the mission of Gary DeMar's American Vision published in the early 1990s and what it claimed in 2010 helped me put much of that into perspective. It wasn't just me.