Saturday, November 10, 2007

Elements of Spiritual Abuse: Part II of V

Image Conscious

The abusive religious system is scrupulous to maintain an image of righteousness. The organization's history is often misrepresented in the effort to demonstrate the organization's special relationship to God.
  • The mistaken judgements and character flaws of its leaders are denied or covered up in order to validate their authority.
  • Impossibly high legalistic standards of thought and behavior may be imposed on the members.
  • Their failure to live up to these standards is a constant reminder of the follower's inferiority to his leaders, and the necessity of submission to them.

Abusive religion is, at heart, legalism.

Abusive religion is also paranoid.

  • Because the truth about the abusive religious system would be quickly rejected if recognized, outsiders are shown only a positive image of the group. This is rationalized by assuming that the religion would not be understood by "worldly" people; therefore they have no right to know.
  • This attitude leads to members being secretive about some doctrines and the inner policies and proceedures of the group. Leaders, especially, will keep secrets from their members.

This secrecy is rooted in a basic distrust of others because the belief system is false and can not stand scrutiny.

Excerpt from The Watchman Fellowship's Profile of Spiritual Abuse