Friday, December 10, 2021

Religious Sects Often Oppose Extended Family Adoptions to Save the Souls of Surviving Minors

David Henke identified that Spiritually Abusive Christian groups believe that their particular sect is far more special to God than all other Christians. They have a special corner on truth that makes them better or more holy than other people, and their group alone ensures the best future. Hand in hand with this, groups retain members with the flipside of their elite status by fostering the belief that life outside of their group is evil, and those who exit will be in danger of eternal damnation.

As the recent documentary about Gwen Shamblin's Remnant Fellowship church points out so well, commitment to the group overshadows and overrides any commitment that their non-member family members have with their group. If families urge their loved ones to leave, in order to maintain good standing with the group, they are expected by the church (and bullied by them) to shun these critical family members.

In The Way Down docuseries that premiered on HBO this Fall, which will feature additional episodes in 2022, several families discussed the painful and frightening process they faced when they showed concern about or criticized the Remnant Fellowship's role had begun to play in their lives.

The issue of child custody also poses a problem for non-member co-parents. Churches like Remnant Fellowship believe that the role of their church and only Remnant Fellowship will preserve the lives and the faith of their children. 

At the time of this writing, the discussion of why people stay in spiritually abusive churches has become a popular discussion because so many people question why Anna Duggar (who is a member of an entirely different Evangelical, Bible-based sect) continues to remain with her husband Josh who was convicted yesterday of possession of child pornography. Many people who are ignorant of what life is like in a closed religious system that controls members through thought reform cannot understand why mothers just don't walk away from such religious groups. This video on TikTok offers an excellent three-minute explanation.

They also do not understand the tenacity of such groups to go to war over child custody, believing that group membership and staying within the group plays the most critical role in the eternal destination of children.  (For more on this issue, explore the images at the bottom of the page.)

This conflict poses difficulties for those who are or seek separation and divorce, but less frequently, it can pose the same struggles for the extended families of minor children if their parents die while they are active members of a high-demand sect. The group may choose to shun extended family members who are not members of their group, and surviving group members may endeavor to gain legal custody of surviving orphaned children.

If you have been a member of Remnant Fellowship and seek support, especially in the wake of the deaths of Gwen Shamblin and other church members this Summer, there is support available for you.  The Beyond Zion Foundation welcomes you and offers a community of caring survivors and support for you. Tax-deductible donations can also be made to their organization if you have had a similar experience and wish to help survivors. Please seek them out at